The Event Horizon | Olde Hickory Brewery

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The Event HorizonThe Event Horizon
1,793 Ratings
The Event HorizonThe Event Horizon

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Habmike on 12-08-2010

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Ratings: 1,793 |  Reviews: 308
Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Chad for sharing. As usual, it took 15 minutes to get the damn Old Hickory wax off. Sampled side-by-side with the Imperial Stout for reference. Served in a New Belgium tulip.

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that settles to a hazy cap of film and a thick collar, leaving behind spotty lace. The body is pitch black. Looks more ominous than an 8.5% Imperial Stout has any business doing so.

S - Huge bourbon and earthy, roasted grains, lots of chocolate cake, burnt sugars. As it warms up more oak and barrel creeps in, along with a faint whiff of alcohol.

T - Lots of roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, honey, and some earthy bourbon and oak character that keeps things from getting too cloying.

M - Sticky, mouth-coating, and surprisingly full-bodied and viscous for the listed ABV. Booze is well-hidden, and the finish is only lightly tannic.

D - I like this better than the standard Imperial Stout by a fair margin. It's not a particularly subtle beer, but it is a delicious one. Definitely for sipping and sharing, but something I'd happily revisit.

NOTE: I'm pretty sure the 8.5% ABV can't be correct. The base beer is listed at 10.2%!! However, if it really is only 8.5% it sure packs in a lot of flavor and heft, while still maintaining fairly well-hidden alcohol.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle purchased from Duckworth's, Charlotte, NC. Black waxed, with the cap imprinted with an OHB, and poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours an ebony body, thick, oily, and viscous, even around the periphery, for a nearly completely fudgy black body, through and through. Carbonation is sparse and far between, with only a few faint streams of fine, prickly, but still lively effervescence dribbling skyward. At the time of the writing of this word, it dribbles skywards to a dense, creamy collar, all that remains of one finger of khaki cocoa head. The retention leaves a little to be desired, though that's to be expected from a barrel aged beer (though perhaps not one that's only 8.5% abv, hm). A little nicer is the side lacing, streaky and and delicate up and down the sides of the tulip in angular and sinusoidal patterns.

Aroma: Oak nuggets encrusted in raisin and cherry honey puree, drizzled with hop oil-infused cocoa. A really rich nose, with a nice balance of notes, though it tends towards the light end of things - tons of sweet, light stone fruits mingle with faint, simple cocoa, coconut, vanilla, and a biting amount of green oak. The cocoa is nice, intense, authentic, very powdery and intensely cocoa-like, though the bourbon is fairly faint.

Taste: A very unusual flavor profile for a barrel aged beer, heavier on certain elements and lighter on others than I'm used to. First, there's the base beer. Tons of light fruit mingle with pure dutch process cocoa notes and faint toast - chocolate-covered cherries would be the most obvious point of reference - though a handful of dark fruits and a dash of earthy coffee-like notes do add a slight amount of complexity. You can definitely taste the "lightening" of this beer - that is, that the base beer has been cut with a slew of golden, slightly spicy honey. Another batch of enhanced aspects of this beer (vis a vis other -bal RISs) are the barrel notes - creamy vanilla and toasty coconut mingle with green oak notes to give both a layered as well as a virginal profile. Contrast that with the relative paucity of bourbon notes - only a small amount of spicy, caramel whiskey sweetness is present, not so much as contributing even a hint of a burn. That's not necessarily a bad thing, given that I'm perfectly happy to drink a virgin RIS any day of the week. Just a point worth making. The lightness of the whole ordeal also doesn't hide the alcohol burn - that is, the estery, chemical-y, ethanol notes - as well as perhaps a fuller, heavier, denser beer would.

Mouthfeel: A rich, creamy, decadent mouth, one of the nicest I've experienced in recent memory. It's immaculately even, smooth, and velvety, with a great amount of soft, subtle lift in a moderate, slightly oily body - the end result is a perfect amount of balance amongst competing forces, resulting in an easy perfect score.

Drinkability: I tried to show up to Duckworth's in time to try this on tap alongside Mother Earth's Silent Night. This one had kicked by the time I arrived so I was only able to try the Silent Night, but I was fortunate enough to grab this one in a bottle, at which time I was assured it was the superior beer. Now that I've had both, I have to agree. Particularly if you like "light" RISs, this one is for you - fruity, lighter, with plenty of barrel character but not an overwhelming (or even prominent) amount of bourbon. To make this beer perfect, I'd leave it in either fresher barrels, or - if these were first cut barrels - for twice as long, as well as amp up the underlying base malts, giving it a little more body and grain character. Sure, it'll probably take the abv up from 8.5% (where it was extraordinarily manageable, by the way) to something a little more intense, but that'd be a fair trade off to bring this beer a little closer to perfection. As it stands, it's an excellent beer, worth seeking out, but stands a little beneath North Carolina's best -bal RIS (Olde Rabbit's Foot, BA Sexy Choc) and some of the great -bal RISs out there (Abyss, Black Note). Nonetheless, worth seeking out.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 01/02/11 notes. Big thanks to tarheels86 (RB) for bringing this one. Thanks GT, been wanting to try this.

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of tan head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, caramel malts, dark fruits, roasted malts, and chocolate.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, caramel malts, dark fruit, roasted malts, and vanilla.

m - Full, rich body and low carbonation, smooth and chewy. Very nice.

d - I thought this was a great barrel aged stout and very drinkable. I loved the bourbon and oak in the smell and taste and didn't feel it overpowered the rest of the flavors; it was pretty balanced. Would love to try this one again.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brentk56 for this SS10 bomber. Poured into a New Belgium goblet. The beer has a deep black center with hazy brown edges and a thin mocha head that quickly fades to a tight ring, leaving some traces of oily lacing.

The smell is really great on this one. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, deep-dark red cherries and roasty malts. The dark and roasted characters give way to sweet caramel, vanilla, alcohol and generous amounts of honey before the bourbon and barrel really take over. The bourbon smell is really spot on, it overwhelms once you catch hold of it, but it's pleasant and welcome.

The taste follows the smell, but it's a bit more muted. The sweet notes of honey, vanilla and caramel hit the tongue first, followed by the dark chocolate, roasted malt and barrel flavors. The finish is all sweet bourbon heat and dark fruits, the flavor will probably develop with a little time in the bottle.

The beer is well carbonated and has a nice heavy body, fitting for the style. I would have guessed that this beer would be 11-12% based on the nose and taste, so I am surprised to see that it's only 8.5%. The alcohol is a bit overbearing, it's a sipper but it's good. This beer was a welcome surprise, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of kkipple
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared with KP, ATLBeerdog and UncleJedi - the hits keep on coming.

Impossibly thick black wax needs to be cut before you can get to the delicious beer inside. Once you pour it, you realize why this is called Event Horizon - it is black as black, real pitch, and sports a creamy, Zhukov-tan head. Yum.

Super tasty nose here: Malty-dark sweet, black bread, molasses, smooth and roasty, vibrant, rich, brownie-batter, chocolate, full, wholesome, no "holes" in the nose here - light vanilla, chips of oak. Very rich - outstanding, frankly.

Taste is solid... okay, more than solid, this is tasty as mess. Full-flavored, sweet and chocolaty, with synergistic roast, mocha, sweet honey, even some evident (distracting, but should fade) hop bitters. Very solid chocolate malt / black patent roast bitterness keeps the thick choco-honey sweetness at bay, and works together VERY well... maybe too well... the bourbon and oak is slight, but there, and is quite mellow. In fact the whole beer is so well put together, it's a minor miracle. What's Olde Hickory doing over there?

Mouthfeel is creamy, rich, full and wonderfully carbonated, the finish is roasty and ends rather unhappily with a slouch of sour-roast and bourbon, kind of stumbles over the finish line, if you will. The only real big misstep here - but given the brilliance of the rest of the beer, I can forgive this.

Olde Hickory Event Horizon is:

A. The best beer from Olde Hickory to date.
B. The finest North Carolina stout not called Sexual Chocolate.
C. Something you need to try immediately.
D. All of the above.

The correct answer is "D". Class dismissed!

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Photo of wcudwight
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque in color with a nice creamy beige colored head. Head lasted until the glass was empty and left soapsuds lacing. Very rich and intense aromas of dark chocolate, vanilla, espresso and burbon. All very balanced and working together as a cohesive unit. The flavor is very intense without being too much. This beer walks that fine line perfectly. The flavor is a mixture of dark chocolate, espresso, roasted oats and grains, and burbon. Thick, creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Man I wish this one wasn't so limited because I'd love to stock my cellar up with this one.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to my buddy Calton for hooking me up with this one. Decided to break myself in with a big stout and went local to do it.

Pour was outstanding, really could not have asked for it to be any better then it was. Thick, dark, incky black with a huge head of tan that reached a height of around three inches and left tons of lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Aroma of burnt chocolate, rich coffee, hints of oak and a touch of vanilla waft throough the air. This is a big beer, their is no denying that at all. Rich and huge flavor is dominated by roasted malts and touches of vanilla, tastes bigger and may need a year or 6 months at the least to cool down, but otherwise outstanding as the light sweet finish seals the deal.

Overall just outstanding, again not a bad word to be said here.

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Photo of Macky20
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with a half finger of head the color of milk chocolate. Head is dense with decent retention and moderate lacing. Aroma consists of molasses, honey, espresso, nougat, and dark chocolate. There is a lot going on when this beer hits the tongue! The North Carolina honey thats brewed in comes through quite well. There is also definite chocolate, espresso and milky sweetness finished with a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, but almost feels a touch too thin for the taste... but I can't complain. Drinkability is quite good for this style, as the alcohol does not burn and is almost a pleasant touch.

Cheers to OH Brewery. A well done RIS. Grab as many bottles as you can (only 976 released) and cellar.

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Photo of CBlack85
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Duckworths in Charlotte, served in a pint glass

This beer is completely black with no highlights and about one inch of dark tan head that quickly recedes leaving behind a fair amount of lacing.

The aroma is all sweet milk chocolate with subtle hints of vanilla, bourbon and honey. Quite a sweet nose with very little roastiness to balance it out.

The taste is very similar to the aroma. Lots of sweet chocolate and honey. Very little in the way of roastiness; there is some there, but not much. There are some hints of bourbon, and some vanilla from the barrel. I get just the slightest bit of alcohol burn. Full bodied and very creamy, the carbonation is spot on. Extremely easy to drink.

Really this is a terrific beer that will only get better as it ages. Mellow and quite drinkable for an 8.5% ABV Impy Stout. Just a little sweeter than I would typically like, but overall a great beer.

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Photo of HKYJoe286
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a 12 oz pilsner glass at Olde Hickory Tap Room.

Appearance: Totally opaque blackness (a camera flash won't even penetrate it), with a 1/2 inch creamy tan/mocha head consisting of tiny bubbles. Begins to dissipate immediately, leaving lacing on the glass.

Smell: Immediate notes of vanilla, bourbon and oak. Slight tobacco aroma as well.

Taste: Complexity, complexity, complexity. Coffee, dark chocolate, hints of toffee and caramel. The vanilla lingers on the end.

Mouthfeel: It tastes as creamy as it smells. The carbonation is perfect for the style.

Drinkablilty: This beer can't be 8.5%, it drinks way too easy. I could drink this all night long, granted I might only finish a couple pints, but this isn't a beer that you would want to chug, that would be just greedy.

Overall: This beer is a gem! For such a limited release this beer could sell for twice its price. One of the best barrel-aged beers from Olde Hickory yet. For being so young out of the barrels, this beer is deceptively smooth. I wish I could drink this beer in one ounce sips per night over the course of a winter.

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Photo of craytonic
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by habmike at a dirty south tasting

Appearance: Pour is jet black, espresso head with some nice lacing as I quickly finish the glass

Smell: Very nice honey / Brown sugar sweetness, with vanilla, dark chocolate, and espresso with a bourbon backdrop

Taste: I really love the honey element here; lots of hershey's chocolate, brown sugar, sweet tobacco juice, vanilla and espresso; bourbon in the backend

Mouthfeel: creamy and silky smooth; perfect carbonation. I didn't taste booze or alcohol but I can't believe it is 8.5%

Drinkability: This was a highlight of the night beer for me (thanks habmike!). Such a great beer, it is clear they set out to make an excellent brew and not some enormous monster.

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Photo of scifan
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After working up a sweat trying to peel off a huge layer of wax I was finally able to pour this into my Portsmouth balloon glass.
A hard pour reveals a big dark brown head with a thick pitch black body. Looks every bit the part of a big ol imperial stout. Very nice. Leaves some lacing as the head quiets down a bit.
Smells great. Lots of sweet dark malts hit the nose along with hints of tobacco and juicy dark fruit. With some nice roastiness rounding it all out. Just a hint of bourbon shines through.
The barrel aging makes itself known in the taste. Smooth oak and vanilla come across first and followed by sweet dark malts. Then a nice roasty finish.
The mouthfeel is one of the best parts of this beer. Very rich and velvety smooth, everything a imperial stout should be and more. The carbonation is spot on. Not a hint of any alcohol and this goes down very smooth. Olde Hickory is one of my favorite breweries in NC and this beer did not dissapoint. Nice Job.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to an ever generous BA for sharing some of this at the Splinter Black release. Nothing like a great impy stout to cure the chills. Served in my Savor snifter.

Pours a deep, dark black color with a thin mocha cap and a slight collar around the edges. The nose is an explosion with fantastic notes of dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, roast, and a tiny bit of char. The dark chocolate and espresso come together splendidly to create and nice slightly-charred cherry character.

The taste picks up right where the nose left off and is buoyed even more by the excellent mouthfeel, which is thick and really lifts the flavors of this one. Love the espresso notes coming out of this. Full and thick feel coats my mouth and finishes smoothly with just a bit of slight booze, which was welcome on this cold morning. Drinkability is quite good as well. I've been nothing but impressed with Olde Hickory thus far and I'd love to try some more things from them.

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Photo of samtallica
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is just plain awesome.

A: Pours black as night with a 1 finger brown head. Leaves lots of lacing on my goblet.

S: The smell is very inviting. Lots of sweet chocolate, vanilla, oak and slight booze.

T: WOW. Bittersweet chocolate, plums, cherries, vanilla and coffee. This is really where this stout shines. It is amazingly delicious and complex. I would venture to say this is my favorite barrel aged stout.

M: Carbonation is right for the style and the body is thick and heavy, just like I like it.

D: I would gladly sip this beer all night. There are very few imperial stouts that leave me wanting more after my bomber is empty.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle that was split with JackTheBear at Duckworth's after picking some of these up at the store into a goblet. Poured pitch black with a half finger tan head that subsided quickly to a minimal amount. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, chocolate, and honey. The flavor was of sweet malt, slightly roasted malt, slight alcohol, caramel, dark chocolate, and honey. It had a heavy feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this brew amazed me. For this to be a relatively fresh BA brew it is very mellowed out to begin with. Olde Hickory says on the bottle that this one will stand up to aging and get better with time. I don't see how that is possible as this thing is drinking awesome right now. If this is true, some people are going to be in for a treat in a year or two. The flavor on this one is one of the most complex I have gotten from an BA stout to-date. Everything blended together very nicely and in unison. Damn good nose on this one as well. Only 1000 bottles and limited kegs, but if you get a chance to get some of this, DO IT! You won't regret it.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Went to the OHB tasting at City Beverage in town this last weekend, and thought I was only going to get a sample of this, but to my surprise, they had it on tap! Score! Now I can muster the self control to hold my bottle for a little while longer. Enjoyed this one with a couple local BAs, mjmadden and EasyReader.

They poured this one into a pint glass, filled to the brim. A small mocha sheet thinly veils this evil-looking brew. On first whiff, this reminds me a liquid Hershey's bar. Pure sweet chocolate. Notes of vanilla, oak and faint bourbon. This aspect is not as strong as I'd expected, but that's just fine with me. I prefer the roasted/chocolate tones to the boozy ones.

Excellent mouthfeel as this completely coats and warms the palate. Silky smooth. Soft finish. The bourbon quality complements this beer excellently, but is not in-your-face at all. Lots of roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, mild cold coffee, honey, and hints of vanilla tannins. And only 8.50%, are you kidding me?! This was such a treat. I could sip this one all day. Best thing OHB has ever put out. For those that enjoy the big boozy BBA Stouts, this may not be your favorite, but I loved it.

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Photo of dgfair
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. waxed bottle poured into Great Lakes snifter.

Opaque jet black body with a deep tan head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving minimal lacing on the glass. Viscous and dark as night, this looks great.

Smell is deep and rich, notes of chocolate and cherries upfront followed by dry cocoa powder and vanilla bean. Also caramel, toffee, and bourbon oak. This beer smells fantastic with very deep, rich, complex scents.

Immediate hits of oaky bourbon upfront followed by vanilla with a finish of chocolate and a nice warming bourbon flavor on the back end. The taste is fantastic...delicious sweet flavors bookended by bourbon. It hits you up front followed by delicious sweet, rich layers of chocolate and vanilla, and then it finishes with an amazing return to the warming bourbon. Very, very nice.

Smooth and creamy in the mouth and goes down oh so smooth. Very rich and complex for an 8.5% stout. It has just the right amount of warmth without being boozy and I could definitely have a bomber of this on my own. Rivals some of the better bourbon aged stouts I've tasted.

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Photo of Habmike
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of the brewery consumed at Duckworth's in Charlotte. 1000 bottle production with 24 bottles held back at the brewery. Total of 976 bottles out there and very few kegs. Thanks Johnathan for dropping this beauty off.

Black as night to the very edge, no hues to speak of. Brown to dark brown head that dissipates rather quickly and replenishes quickly with a swirl. Scary looking stuff!

Smells of black strap molasses with a beautiful roast character and notes of chocolate.

Tastes quite delicious! Roasty molasses and dark chocolate with a touch of honey. There is a quick and slightly dry finish that is also very pleasant. Finishes quickly and while being aggressive the flavor is not offensive.

Moderately heavy mouthfeel. I wouldn't say the heaviest beer out there but quite viscous none the less. Absolutely spot on carbonation level. On the low side with a nice light sizzle. With the wax dipped bottles and this carbonation level I can tell this beer will be drinking very nicely in the future.

Speaking of which...Dangerously drinkable. The flavor does not wear on you quickly at all.

Overall this is an amazingly solid brew. Hopefully this will become an annual release!

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The Event Horizon from Olde Hickory Brewery
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 1,793 ratings