Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout | Highland Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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 Double / 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 136 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of drperm
4.88/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at the Brewgrass release -- first beer I went for!
It's amazing stuff.
Appearance: Black, black, with a creamy-colored head. Inviting, in the way that a 7:00am java is inviting.
Aroma: Mocha, malt, hops. Something near the end...I can't quite put my finger on it....I want to say almost "fishy," except it's pleasant rather than gross...
Taste: Chocolate! Nice roasted malts and smooth hops finish it off.
Palate: Smooth, the definition of smooth. How is this 9.5% ABV???
Overall: Absolutely amazing. Why is this not brewed year-round and always on offer?

 565 characters

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.

 1,435 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Strong, smoky, oily aroma has components of good roast coffee, unsweetened chocolate and molasses and is slightly sweet. It pours a deep, opaque, dark-chocolate brown with a fairly thick and fine-bubbled though not persistent tan head. Mouth-filling flavor is like a good unsweet mocha with an undertone of molasses and a hint of sweetness as well as a touch of hoppy bitterness. Texture is thick, rich, smooth and fizzy. This is one lip-smacking stout, a must for any stout lover!

 481 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to mikesgroove for tossing in this beer, I've enjoyed Highland beers before but this is so far their top beer in my book so far.

Pours a dark dark brown almost black color with no light being able to penetrate, good sized tan head, fades fast at first and slows down a bit near the end, leaves a bit of sticky lacing.

Smell is roasted chocolate with lots of dark fruit notes, slight coffee aroma but not as strong as I would have thought.

Taste has prickly carbonation at first and then mellows out to a nice smooth texture, alcohol is well hidden, mmmm chocolaty goodness with lots of dark fruit complexity.

This is certainly a treat and wouldn't mind seeing how this one ages.

 694 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 bottle, shared by Bobby8405.

A - This pour strikes a sinister pose; black as tar, oily as a gulf seabird, and with an inch of persistent mocha froth. It looks very good.

S - It smells of cinnamon and delicious roastiness, not so much mocha though. Raisin-y maltiness is available too.

T - Initially it is perhaps less dynamic than the nose, but is still very enjoyable. Mellowness is its greatest characteristic, as it is quite a big brew to be so understated. It has a sublime balance between big stout roastiness, a rich EBW maltiness that borders on sherry-like vinousness, and is rounded out by the spiciness one would expect in a Quad or BSDA. And yet it is still an Imperial Stout, through and through. Very subtle, very complex.

M - Big, oily, mouth-coating and softly carbonated. Good stuff.

D - This is a huge surprise, I wasn't expecting to be so enthralled with this dark horse. Damn good.

 910 characters

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.


 874 characters

Photo of Strix
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Whoever put the label on this bottle didn't do a very good job and got it all wrinkled. That sort of detracts, but I won't deduct for it.

Pours a thick black with a chocolate-colored head that leaves some lacing.

Smells deliciously of roasted malts, and dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate and coffee are forward in the taste. Lots of roasted malt blends things together well. A touch of alcoholic warmth in there, alcohol is remarkably well hidden though.

Mouthfeel is great on this, super smooth, glides around the mouth.

This is the real deal. It was a bit pricey, but very worth it. Nice to see a big stout with balance and drinkability.

 641 characters

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.

 1,170 characters

Photo of mtbdonn
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of BierBliss
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

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

Cellar-cool 22-ounce bomber bottle poured into my Highland etched-logo shaker pint glass yields an opaque ebony body with a tint of impossibly-dark garnet at the edges. A huge grainy-bubbled cap of mottled dark-ecru and khaki foam rests atop the drink, going nowhere fast, leaving lacing in big abstract Rorschach blots on the glass as the pillowy head reluctantly settles into a respectably-thick sheet.

The smell is chocolatey and sweetly malty with a big whiff of winey black French Roast and a note of espresso, leaving the impression of a succulent mocha cappuccino aroma pervading the drink. A note of harsh, unadulterated black coffee pops out from time to time, with tons of dark bakers' chocolate close on its heels. The folks at Highland state on the label that neither coffee nor chocolate were used in the recipe, making what I'm smelling pretty damned remarkable.

If I thought the smell was a mocha fake-out, the flavor is a double mocha fake-out! Chocolatey black coffee with rich, black malty syrup rolls across the palate. Bakers' chocolate and twangy French roast rule. The drink finishes dry and dusty with a note of dark caramels rolled in cocoa powder working to fight off a combination of earthy hop and burnt-malt bitterness.

Silky smooth with excellent alcohol suppression and on the full side of medium-bodied with fine carbonation, Highland's Imperial Black Mocha Stout is an extremely drinkable beer, and the finest offering to date that I've enjoyed from this excellent brewer. Quaffable at 9.5% abv. Ridiculous!

 1,543 characters

Photo of Brewsed
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of EasyReader
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of rderedin
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to afausser for this one. 2008 vintage.

3.5 A: Black color. One finger of creamy medium brown head with poor retention and spotty lacing.

4.5 S: Lots of great aromas packed into this one. Sweet chocolate throughout, coffee with lots of cream, bittersweet chocolate after that, and a strong roasted barley base. Touch of alcohol, but only a touch.

4.5 T: Coffee with cream dominates this time. Bittersweet chocolate, plum fruitiness, and blackstrap molasses. Roasty burnt flavor is fairly strong, but it's overly strong.

4.0 M: Lighter heavy body or perhaps heavier medium body. In any case, pretty good. Moderate carbonation, smooth with a slightly burnt aftertaste. Creamy. Could be a little thicker and chewier.

5.0 D: Damn good beer. Very similar in a lot of way to BBVD (my favorite impy). Wish I had some more of these. Might need to put up an ISO.

 894 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained in trade with unclejedi. Thanks for the opportunity.

Formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head quickly fades to anuneven layer of bubbles, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is deeply of roasty dark malts. Taste follows the nose, with deep sweetness throughout, and ample alcohol warmth on the close. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is dangerous for the style. Excellent offering.

 443 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a thick-looking, black body with a frothed, tan-hued head.

Smell: Aroma of rich, concentrated chocolate and coffee scents with lessened supporting notes of blackstrap molasses, roasted nuts, caramel ice cream topping, and dark fruits.

Taste: Roasted malts with plenty of dark chocolate sauce, dark caramel, molasses, Madagascar vanilla beans, and coffee extract tossed with a fair amount of lip-smacking residual sweetness. Slight charred plumskin fruitiness. Handful of burnt nuts. Roasty, earthy bitterness hits midway through. Bite through some rather chewy toasted malts. Very tiny peak of alcohol warmth. Finishes exceedingly smooth and with a long, lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Thick, oily mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A top-notch Imperial Stout that's somewhat underrated, if you ask me. How anyone can not find enjoyment in that is entirely beyond me. Fun to sip and savor or chug greedily, it's up to you.

 969 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
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.

 291 characters

Photo of cmukid87
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a blackish color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of foamy, tan-colored head and pretty good lacing.

S: Smelled of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and possibly a little dark fruit. A very aromatic beer.

T: Tasted like it smelled: cocoa, coffee, roasted malt and a little hoppiness. A well-rounded flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Full-bodied and chewy, as an Imperial Stout should be.

D: A very drinkable beer.

 495 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
VINTAGE: Limited Edition 2008
Thanks to a very generous BA for throwing this in, as an extra(!).

Happily, this one pours black. Backlighting it reveals a wonderful tinting of deep ruby red color. A half finger head of dark tan colored foam makes the head then recedes to a filmy surface covering. The lacing is in abundant little spots, which are quite sticky.

This nose is full of big-time chocolate notes. Tons of milk chocolate, a fair amount of dark chocolate, some cocoa powder and even some light hints of tootsie rolls. Great presence of nicely roasted malts. Mild touches of coffee, which seem very inviting. Very light hints of dark fruits.
A wonderful nose, indeed.

Milk and dark chocolates vie for the title of most dominant, right off the bat. There is an underlying roastiness, rounding it out. Light hint of cream. Both caramelized sugar and an almost candi sugar-like sweetness. Light traces of vanilla. Light traces of dark fruits, especially cherries, keep popping in and out. Some dark roasted coffee beans, just shy of bitter, are present in the finish.

This has a medium body, with a slight oiliness to it, and a low-to-medium level of carbonation. It is extremely smooth and almost silky.

The 9.50%abv is certainly hidden well enough. You find it when you stand up though. This beer has a light warming touch to it, but sneaks up to attack you from behind when you aren't paying attention.
Very well done, Highland! I wish that I could have a whole lot more of this stuff!

 1,549 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Edition 2008. Creamless coffee black with nearly nonexistent accents of cherry and orange (despite bright backlighting). The cappuccino colored cap looks good enough and is beginning to lay down a decent amount of lace. This is a solid looking double stout.

The nose is more than solid. IBMS is redolent of roasted barley and all the good things that entails. Bittersweet chocolate leads the way, followed by coffee, dark fruit and molasses. Although the citric quality of the hops are appreciated, it doesn't smell like this will be an especially hoppy stout... just a damn good one.

Since the standard Black Mocha Stout is so delicious, is it any wonder that *Imperial* Black Mocha Stout is as well? More of a good thing is an even better thing. Or, in this case, an equally good thing. Actually, I think this beer is better, but there's no way it deserves the ultimate taste score.

The brewery makes a point of saying that 'no flavorings have been added to this product'. That's probably because the word Mocha and the intense coffee flavor of the roasted malt might have suggested otherwise. It isn't as intense as in most coffee stouts, but coffee is the dominant flavor by far. Dark chocolate is still appreciated, as are raisins and plums swimming in blackstrap molasses.

Whether from hops or from charred black malt, there's quite a bit of bitterness present. The result is a beer that starts each mouthful with a surge of sweetness, is beautifully balanced in the backstretch, and wraps things up with a tight, focused finish. If it tastes like this at 6 months of age, it must have been a hoppy humdinger when fresh.

Even though the mouthfeel firms up with warming, it still falls just short of where it should be for a 9.5% double stout. The fact that it's nice and smooth with well-calibrated bubbles makes drinking quickly a summer breeze. I need to respect the ABV and slow down, but it's proving to be difficult.

Imperial Black Mocha Stout is yet more evidence that Highland Brewing produces nothing but good-to-outstanding beer. Let's hope they decide to release Limited Edition 2009... Limited Edition 2010... ad infinitum. Thanks to cvstrickland for sending me this beauty.

 2,205 characters

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.

 948 characters

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

Dark brown head, starts off two plus fingers yet recedes swiftly enough to a thin layering of mixed bubble sizes popping all over, scattershot lacing. Onyx black color, defies you to find any other hue anywhere in there, a solid block of black. The nose is like walking into a Starbucks, all roasted coffee, high-toned milk and dark chocolate, warmed caramel, sticky and a mix of sweet and burnt, deepens into plum/prune, date and black cherry fruit, scone to biscuit sort of dense breadiness to it, given the force with which it busts into the nostrils has credible lift and subsequent scent separation. Full-bodied, here one might even say that the sweetness of the plum, prune, raisin, date, blackberry, black cherry fruit trumps the malty coffee, dark chocolate, molasses accents, the latter has a certain bitter astringency through the mid-palate in its corner. Through the density comes a noticeable florality as well as a spoonful of orange juice. Nut oil more present than crisper nutty flavors, soaks in before crunching. Carbonation might seem weak but at least it doesn't try to interfere with well intentions. Not confused about what it wants to achieve.

 1,166 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Azurelimits for opening this up at a recent tasting.

Pours a midnight black with a thin mocha head. Nose is dominated by dark chocolate fudge along with a tiny amount of espresso and roasted malt. The taste brings the chocolate forward a bit more. Slightly sweet, but more toward dark. Espresso flavors are present underneath along with a bit of molasses. Feel is nice and heavy with good carbonation levels. Really glad to be able to try this one; I'll have to seek more out from Highland.

 501 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 136 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.