Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout | Highland Brewing

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Highland Imperial Black Mocha StoutHighland Imperial Black Mocha Stout
136 Ratings
Highland Imperial Black Mocha StoutHighland Imperial Black Mocha Stout

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mikesgroove on 09-21-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 136 |  Reviews: 111
Reviews by mtbdonn:
Photo of mtbdonn
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I really like the standard black mocha stout...probably even a little more than this,but this is pretty good.Poured into my Guinness pint glass a jet black with a creamy light mocha colored head that settles into cappuchino-like froth.Aromas are not strong in my mind but are nice,dark fruit,roasted nuts,and bitter chocolate mainly.A drier impy stout flavor wise,big earthy tones with unsweetened chocolate,some dark fruit and sweetish alcohol comes thru in the finish.The alcohol creeps after it gets closer to room temp,a big dryer impy stout,something different.

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Photo of marvin213
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It's as dark as the pitch, and the thin tan head retains itself even after I run in-house errands for the wife and kids. I wish the head was a bit more foamy, and it doesn't completely cover the top, but man--this stout is BLACK.

The smell is straight chocolate. I mean this is like liquid chocolate malts. I do smell the alcohol as it seems to warm even my nose hairs. The label, however, mentions coffee, and I can't say I detect any of that.

Chocolate and alcohol--like the smell--smack the palate. These two ingredients make up the taste forefront. Though I didn't smell the coffee, it's like raw beans subtlely provide a background for the beer's core. This beer's been sitting in my relatively dark cold beer fridge for months but, I tell ya, the 9.5% alcohol sure does taste imperial. I don't think even time will really mellow this one.

Warm chocolate in the mouth feels very good. It reminds me of sneaking the freshly baked fudge to my bedroom as a kid. I similarly just fill my mouth, let my cheeks bulge from liquid, and...sit there.

Chocolatey alcohol zing has its place and all but, like a true dessert, you should probably watch your serving size. Both the sweetness and the alcohol-feel detract from drinkability. It might prove ideal with some strawberries with your lady-friend, but this isn't the RIS you kick back and celebrate with among your boys.

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Photo of merlin48
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber pours dark, inky, and thick, with a small light brown head. Minimal patchy lacing.

Aroma has some dark fruits, toasted almonds, and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with a velvety subtle carbonation.

Taste has dark and milk chocolate, a hint of roasted coffee, toasted almonds, and vague dark fruits. Alcohol is noticed, but is relatively well hidden considering the 9.5%. An astringent grainy bitterness appears midway and lasts into the finish, detracting from the otherwise impressive flavors.

Somewhat disappointed in this one, considering how much I like Highland's original, Black Mocha Stout. Still, this one is pretty decent for the style.

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Photo of glid02
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from a friend.

Pours completely and utterly black with a two-finger tan head that dissipates slowly into a patchy layer on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is pretty sticky.

Smells good. A huge chocolate aroma with a somewhat bready malt backbone.

Tastes great. Lots of chocolate malt up front that's backed up by a subtle roasted malt flavor. There's also a bitter coffee flavor that grows more robust as the beer warms. Bitter ending that stays with me throughout. There's no hint of the alcohol save for the warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is phenomenal. It's absurdly thick with carbonation that fights through the viscous beer. It's creamy and goes down oh-so smoothly.

Drinkability is great. I could not get enough of this and could very easily drink another bomber.

Overall this is a great beer. It's very, very smooth and the flavors all meld together flawlessly. Definitely pick this one up if you have the chance.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say, this beer is the absence of light. I mean I can't see a f-ing thing through this beer. It kind of looks brownish but even holding it directly up to a light bulb does nothing. There is a thick fluffy head that is the color of hot chocolate powder. Beer that looks like this impresses me and begs my inner demons to drink it.

The scent is heavenly. Sweet chocolaty malts dominates but the great thing is that it smells so fresh. I mean just milled grain fresh. It's such a new, sweet smell I have to question if it's even been fermented or if they just bottled the wort.

Taste is thick and along the lines of the nose. Caramelized chocolates with heavy sweet malts that show a nice level of complexity, even displaying some dark fruit flavors. Bittersweet towards the end long enough to reveal some hop love. Floral and bitter it's just enough to make this beer the complete imperial stout flavor package.

This is everything I would want in an I.S. My only nit pick is the lack of mocha or coffee flavors. I mean the label says it's a black mocha stout but I don't detect any evidence of it. The mouthfeel is smooth with a nice hint of a dried charcoal goodness, no doubt from the roasted malts. Amazing texture from the "limited edition 2008"batch that claims to have 9.5% ABV. I can't taste even a hint of the booze, the only suggestion is subtle warmth in your belly long after the gulp goes down. Exceptional brew.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to stopbarking for sending this gem my way in the LNBA BIF. Viva the REAL LNBA!

2008. Pours a very deep black with a not huge but strong one to two finger head into my Duchesse d' B glass. Head has decent retention and leaves ok lacing.

Nose is full of roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, some black barley, and a slight vinous quality. Honestly I was expecting alot more coffee in the nose here.

Taste follows but much stronger. Roasted malt is big. Coffee is there, but once again I expected more out of it. A very nice bitterness through the middle, roasted malts are really the star here. Some defenite chocolate notes just before the finish. A good bitterness in the finish and the aftertaste. And there is a vinous quality in here. Slight chocolate hangs on. Alcohol is moderately subdued.

Mouthfeel is quite good. Would like a touch more viscosity here, although it is quite viscous in general. A bit slick, like an impy oat, but not anywhere near as much.

Drinkability shines quite brightly here, as this one is very easy to consume. Goes down nicely, very palatable. Im guessing this one is on the lighter side Imperial stout wise, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 8%.

Overall a fine and well made stout. I expected much more coffee flavor in this one, but aside from my own schema of what this one should have been, it is quite good as its own beast. A solid and well made imperial stout, that is easy drinking and flavorful. A good one for my first from highland, looking forward to trying some of their others. Thanks again to biggity barks for shipping this one to the far north. Good beer, and one im glad to have a few more (thanks mikesgroove) to cellar. good beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours thickish black, with some white head. Thick head, roast and coffee aroma. Full mouthfeel, I am not a great fan of super coffee beers, but it is a very good job for what it is. If you are, this one is a must for you. Coffee acidicity bothered my tummy.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, lugged my way by blackness

appearance: poured into my de koninck chalice, dark mahogany body with a light chocolate cap and very little retention, garnet hints but a rather tame body for the style

smell: roasted malts, dry cocoa and roasted coffee, cinnamon and black licorice...a little deceiving

taste: pretty great tasting stout - creamy dark chocolate, robust roasted malts, licorice, warming alcohol, roasted coffee (though none actually included i dont believe), perfectly balanced and very smooth

mouthfeel: smooth but delightfully robust and creamy

drinkability: good

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Photo of prototypic
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of csmiley. Thanks, dood!

Vintage 2008

Imperial Black Mocha Stout pours a very dark chocolate fudge color. I don't see any light cutting through at all. It's opaque. The head is very modest. It's mocha colored and only rises to about a finger or so. It falls quickly. Lacing was very, very light.

The nose is good. It features an excellent mix of chocolate and roasted malts. The chocolate variety smells mostly bittersweet. Coffee/espresso scents follow, and really complement the malty scents well. There are secondary elements of prune, plum, pepper, and molasses. Alcohol is mixed well and doesn't smell strong at all.

The flavor is rather impressive. Chocolate and roasted malts are the centerpiece and hold things together very well. They have a bittersweet flavor that's a little cocoa-ish. It's not sweet at all. Roasted coffee is strong in the mix. As a coffee fan, that's a-okay by me. Dark fruit flavors add an interesting flavor, but I'm not altogether crazy about it. It is plum and prune. It doesn't add much, but I don't hate it either. Molasses rounds it out. Alcohol is masked well and goes unnoticed. Finishes with a malty, tangy dark fruit flavor.

Imperial Black Mocha Stout has a medium body that's really nice and smooth. With a little warming, it's svelte and creamy. Impressive. Carbonation is light and adds to its plush feel. Drinkability is good. This is good beer that goes down easy. Yes, it is big and nearly 10% abv, but it's deceptive. There's nothing about it that suggests it's that strong.

Highland Brewing did a really nice job with Imperial Black Mocha Stout. This is good stuff that's really satisfying. There's very little here to criticize. Personally, I think the dark fruit flavor is just a tad too strong, but it is interesting and adds some nice depth to the overall flavor. That's the only qualm I have. Impressive stuff. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber thanks to Nick3. I had tried this at GABF before and liked it.

Pours just about black with a medium-sized tan head and some good lacing.

Aroma is coffee, chocolate, and roast. Pretty good, and fitting for the style. The coffee is not overdone.

Flavor is very good, although a little tannic, with chocolate, coffee, and roast. Not too much coffee, but it's definitely there.

Medium-full bodied, fairly dry, yet somewhat smooth on the palate.

Very good drinkability for the style. An impressive imperial stout overall, not quite elite but very tasty.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Bung
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Somewhat oily, dark black pour. Limited dark tan head. Some descent lacing. Aroma is a bit subdued. Roasty aroma, bakers chocolate, molasses. Slick solid medium/full body. Flavor balanced between a good amount of chcocolate malts, chalky cocoa and molasses. Light vanilla and coffee. Finish has some roast malt and coffee, but not the overly bitter that many others were getting. Drinkability is pretty high, alcohol is non-existant and this is not real warming or filling. A real good big beer. The stouts are the standout at Highland.

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Photo of akorsak
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this bomber back from a long-ago trip to Asheville.

A: The stout is dark as a moonless night, pitch black in all its glory. There are no dark brown or reddish hues, just all-engulfing darkness. A tan colored head was instantaneously reduced to a thin band.

S: The nose is heavy, complex with nuttiness, chocolate, coffee and a graham sweetness. The flavors are layered and deep; a nice sniffer.

T: The first sip goes in the opposite direction of the nose. The sweetness is replaced by a harsh, burnt landscape that is very rough. The roasted barley is sharp and hot, roughly seguing into sweeter, fuller chocolate, coffee and licorice flavors. For as sharp as the flavors are, a sweetness pervades the back end of each sip. The burnt malts, I don't like. The sweeter finish, I do.

M: The mouthfeel starts with a bitter push that improves as I dig into the ale. At times though, that bitterness returns with a vengeance.

D: This big stout isn't my cup of tea, too bitter and burnt to be a nice sip. I'd like more chocolate and coffee to smooth out the burn.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter

Pitch black with a one finger light brown head that settles to a thin rim along the glass.

Strong raisin and coffee in the aroma. Dark roasty black malts.

Toffee, coffee, and a lot of molasses. Slightly acerbic, acidic, and comes with a lot of carbonation. The alcohol makes itself present as the beer warms.

The alcohol and the sharpness of the beer really lowers the drinkability. A well rounded stout for those who like coffee versions.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Bennettrox for the want!

LE 2008. (only year brewed?)

Pours a very dark brown, black in deeper areas of the glass. Head was a very light brown, less than a finger, and didn't really leave any lace. The aroma is bustling with big chocolate notes, roasted notes, and a very nice subtle, but inviting coffee aroma. Those big chocolate notes follow into the taste, along with, for it's age, a very impressive coffee taste. It's bitter and roasty, with a nice sweetness. Upper medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Sits nice, but a bit thinner than it should be. But overall, this was a great stout. I went in expecting the possibility of little to no coffee due to age, but it was very nice and very enjoyable!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage 22 received in trade a while back from rustydiamond.. poured into my New Belgium snifter... thanks a bunch Rusty.

1" head doesn't stick around long at all.. not much lace.. the brew is black.

Nose is expected roasty aroma with a bunch of dried fruit and some subtle spicing that reminds me of cinnamon.

Flavor has quite a bit of char.. but not out of bounds... more coffee than chocolate.. with "some" bittersweet cocoa.. IMO... it could use a little bit more sweetness.. either malty or caramel to really help tie things together, it seems like it "could" be a great beer, but is still a little disjointed. Pretty good body and carbonation.

I honestly expected this one to be considerably better.. it's by no means bad.. just could stand to be dialed in a bit.

Thanks a bunch for another great trade Rusty... we should do it again sometime.

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Photo of wedge
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, almost black, with a very small creamy brown head. Dark bready alcohol hits the nose first followed by molasses, charcoal, vinous fruit, and black malts. Heavy on the fresh dark malt flavor...more brown bread and fruit, coffee and chocolate linger in the background. Solid all-around sweetness to balance out all the roastiness. Creamy medium-full body and a good bit of dryness.

Mmmm...this is pretty good. The strong dark, bready, fruity maltiness is sort of doppelbock-y in lots of ways. Style-aside, it's a solid, strong, and dark beer that's certainly worth a try.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the chance to try this one straight from the tap today at Brewgrass. Cannot wait to get some bottles tomorrow at a the release. Served moderatly chilled in a couple taster glassed. This one was consumed on 09/20/2008.

The pour was very nice, deep and dark, black as night with a rich tan colored head on the top of it. Some very nice retention here that thoroughly coated the entire inside of the glass with a sticky layer of lace.

The aroma was deep, lots of roasted malts and cocoa. Some light hints of alcohol mixed in throughout and a slight touch of molasses as well. The flavor was just very well done here. Almost all hints of alcohol are well hidden and delicatly subsided. Intresting mix of smoked and roasted malt flavors at first, when it warms it takes on a much more sweet profile with oodles of chocolate and sweet coffee coming though now. Rich, creamy full bodied feel was making this a very nice sipper, but again, very well hidden alcohol only served to keep it very easy,

Overall I thought this one was very solid. Nothing that was terribly overdone here at all, in fact it was just the opposite. Very nicely balanced and a very good big stout.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black, opaque in color. No light comes through this baby. Nice mocha colored head with good texture and retention.
Rich chocolate aroma with mild coffee in the background. Some c-hop smell but it's the chocolate that dominates.
Flavor like the aroma is heavy on the chocolate with lot's of roasted malts. There's some smoke in the flavor and a citrus hop taste but the hops are not as strong in the flavor as the aroma.
The mouthfeel carries this beer. I just can't get over how creamy it fills. Not thick and syrupy like some other bigger stouts. This mouthfeel is just as thick as some of them but it's creamy.
Good beer, easy to drink, the alcohol is noticable but not so much that it detracts from the drinkability.
I wish I would have made the release b/c I would like some more of this.
Thanks to enola for sharing.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: black beauty. Really a dark brown with a nice surprisingly full head.
smell: coffee, vanilla, chocolate, some hop bitterness. full and complex.
taste: Wow. Malty and coffee like with a hoppy balance and a dry finish.
A little light on the mouthfeel but very smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of blackie
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: piraat snifter, pitch black beer with only a ring and small island of carbonation on the surface

s: charred roast precedes a meaty body of smoky fruits, dark sugars, and bitter chocolate, adequately rich with a full range of roasted aromas and dark fruits to provide support, various complexities include plum paste and molasses, appropriate level of booze, smells great

m: full body with a level of carbonation that rides the low-medium divide, not quite chewy

t: deep roasted barley and bittersweet chocolate carried on a body of dark, leathery fruits; notes of meaty smoke and deeply caramelized sugars, a long-lingering finish of burnt bittersweet chocolate and palate-coating dark fruit sugars, a whole lot going on here, highly satisfying

d: the last couple scores are a bit confusing - the label makes it clear that this is NOT a "coffee" stout; what I do find is a super-solid imperial stout that's a slow sipper, but a tasty one

cellared around nine months, picked up at Sam's in Durham, NC

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Photo of wescj
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

220z bomb er poured into a snifter.

I'm not going to flex my verbage muscle: the color is black. With imperial stouts, I think I've exhausted all the ways to poetically describe the most true form of that color, so from here on out I will only use that description which most accurately fits the beer: black. Half inch of chocolate nougat head, reducies to wispy swirls on top of the above-described blackness.

Smells good and assertive. Coffee, chocolate, (dare I say mocha?), a touch of booze. One could say it massages, seduces, and satisfies the nose in proper form.

This beer is one of the best of its style. All the necessary flavors are present and amplified: The expected chocolate notes become intense dark chocolate, the coffee boarders on espresso, etc. Very good.

Very silky mouthfeel, but with that nice edge you find in RISs only in the bottle.


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Photo of vacax
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle vintage 2008. Pours black with some translucence around the edges of the glass, smallish mocha colored head, but it sticks around in a ring with some nice compact beading. The aroma has generous amounts of chocolate syrup, chocolate malt balls and a touch of a herbal hop balance. Just based on how chocolatey this smells, I give it high marks. Body is a bit thick but could be more robust for the style, luckily the carbonation is mild which lends to savoring this one. The flavor has is vinous with good dark chocolate, the finish brings cocoa powder, cookielike malts, and some floral hops. This is a really nice and surprisingly mellow brew with lots of lovely chocolate. I'd like to drink it again.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Five Points Bottle Shop (Athens, GA). 8.99. 2008 vintage. Served in a snifter. 

Pours murky near black with deep chestnut edge. A few tan bubbles quickly vanish before you could really call them "head". No lacing. 

Smells of roasted malts, figs and coffee. A slight noticeable booze presence while it's still cool. Nice. 

Taste is a smooth mixture of coffee, dark fruits, chocolate and roast. The alcohol is always there in the background but is much harder to notice as it warms up and the other flavors stand out more. A great mixture of imperial stout flavors. 

A creamy medium body with next to no carbonation. 

Overall I'm pretty happy with this. I enjoy the standard Black Mocha Stout and this has just kicked everything up a few notches. The 3+ years of age I'm sure has helped the alcohol settle some and brought out more of the dark fruit flavors. I kinda wish I'd picked up more than just one bottle. 

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Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 136 ratings