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 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
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Ratings: 136 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up in BA secrect santa '11, brewed 2008. It pours jet black, medium white head, light lacing. The aroma has coffee, chocolate, burnt malt notes. Lots of coffe and chocolate, no hints of booze, slightly bitter finish. The beer is medium/full in body, good carbonation. A real enjoyable brew, worth seeking out if yoy can find it.

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Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of EasyReader
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage

A- Body is a dark brown nearly black hue. Pours with a 1-2 finger creamy tan head which nearly immediately fades to a thin collar.

S- Yep. Smells like an aged RIS. Very heavy on the anise and raisin. Overripe and wrinkly. Little to no chocolate or alcohol to detect.

T- Very similar to the nose. Lots of dry raisin, anise. A hint of chocolate hits the back of the palate at the finish-but its mostly dry and boozy with a slight roasted malt bitterness and a touch of anise.

M- Very dry medium to heavy weight body with low to medium carbonation.

O- Overall this is a decent beer but it seems to have past its prime. The chocolate and mocha has faded a lot and the anise and raisin has come forward, a lot, and its kind of like drinking a dry, overripe plum.

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Photo of corby112
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

Pours pitch black with a half finger light mocha colored head that quickly settles into a thin ring.  Minimal spots of lace left behind.  

Slightly roasted aroma with lots of dark malt notes.  Hints of chocolate, oatmeal and coffee bean.  Subtle alcohol.

Medium bodied with lots of silky chocolate maltiness that adds some sweetness to counter the deep roasted characteristic.  Roasted but not as bold as I expected.  Hints of oatmeal and dark chocolate and coffee bean.  Subtle lactic creaminess smoothes things out and makes this beer very quaffable.  Slight alcohol sweetness adds balance but there is hardly any heat at all.  Abv very well masked.  

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

Another bottle courtesy of jsanford. Cheers Jacob!

2008 Vintage

A- Pours a jet black with a two finger mocha head that leaves gobs of lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Flourless chocolate cake batter, faint coffee, roasted malt and a bit of nuttiness.

T- Follows the aroma with flourless chocolate cake batter with some espresso beans and some roasted malt.

M- Low to medium carbonation and medium body with a syrupy mouthfeel. Very smooth, where is that 9.5%?

O- I was pleasantly surprised with this, as the flavors have aged very well. This would make a great dessert beer that would pair well with some ice cream.

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Photo of birchstick
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to gford217 for hooking me up with this retired beer!

A - pours black as night with a nice looking chocolate colored head

S - smells intensely of rich, dry dark chocolates with a bit of brownie character to it as well as strange as that sounds

T - roasted, dry malts start this off. Dark chocolates from the nose blend with more subtle milk chocolate to turn this into a delicious liquid desert. The mocha has definitely faded from this as I really don't get much coffee from this except up front. That being said, the chocolate malts were awesome and filled in for the mocha nicely.

M - full and a little under carbonated; a little dry from the malts

D - I had no idea what to expect from this, being that is a coffee stout that is almost 3 years old. I was very satisfied with the aged result and would encourage Highland to make this one again as it was delicious...I would have loved to try this fresh!

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note's from Captain Lawrence Rosso Batch 3 release / tasting:

Very excited to try this being that I really dig the black mocha stout (and this is retired). Really dark, really nice looking…not much head, swirl builds it a little bit. Really nice look to it. Mmm…smells great, dark fruits, typical ris smells. Very very nice smell. Flavor follows the nose, but a bit more bitter than I expected, but dark fruit dominated RIS. A little thick and a little heavy…good one though, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber from 2008 pours a dark crimson color with a small brown head. Decent retention and lacing.

Nose is an interesting mix of Rice Krispies, burnt cocoa, dark chocolate and a little bit of blackberry fruit.

Taste shows some heavy roast - very coffee and alcohol oriented. Light oxidation lends it some Cocoa Puff cereal flavors. Some vegetal matter is a bit off-putting, cabbage almost. Too roasty, too much burnt flavors. I might have waited too long to open this beast...or not long enough...either way, it was not nearly as good as I was hoping for.

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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 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!

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle poured into a sniffer care of KickBacksSteve, thanks man! Shared with friends on 1/22/11.

This brew appears black with a dark brown head that holds tight around the edges of the glass. A light swirl revives the cap and produces some spotty lacing.

The aroma of this brew is roasty with a hint of licorice and dark fruit. Some fresh grainy character evolves smelling somewhat chocolate-like. As strange is this sounds, there is some weird combination going on in this aroma that reminds of fruity pebbles cereal.

The taste of this brew is bitter and roasty that is a pleasant combination imparted equally from citrus hops and the level of roast to the grain. Just like in the aroma, there is this unique resemblance to fruity pebbles cereal. Why am I referring to this? I don't know, it's been years since I've even seen this cereal let alone tasted/smelled it. This brew lingers with a dark grain character leaving a roasted an somewhat musty taste in the mouth.

It is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. Quote drinkable and roasty with a pleasant bitterness I enjoy and look for in stouts. Worth a try but the cereal and fruity indications have me scratching my head in confusion.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Dark shade of brown, with a short-lived tan head.

S: Plenty of chocolate and caramel malt along with some light coffee. There's also a heavy brown sugar aroma.

T: Flavor is very charred and a little acrid. There's a light syrupy chocolate/toffee, and a little coffee in there among all charred bitterness. I also got a little nuttyness, which is something I rarely notice in a RIS. Finishes with a lingering roastyness.

M: Medium to thick, with full frothy carbonation. Still a little hot in the back despite the age.

I've had some good beers from Highland, but not overly impressed here. Too ashy and hot for my tastes. Also, I wouldn't bet on it getting any better from this point.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage. Poured into my town hall snifter:

A - Pours a solid black. Light kahki head develops at first but dies very quickly into nothing but a slight foam ring around the edges. Lacing is almost non existent.

S - Nice chocolate, fudge like flavors, slightly cake like as well. Kind of a candy roast but not really the black mocha smell I was expecting. Coming from a non-coffee drinker I really don't mind this missing flavor. I really do enjoy the smell.

T - A real roast, chalky flavoring. The candy and chocolate fudge I smelled are not in the taste. This is where the mocha and coffee flavoring really show through. The flavor is actually kind of dull; it might be due to the aging or maybe it was already like this but it is OK.

M - The carbonation is on the lesser side. Again, the chalky, drying, bittering feeling is throughout. This is on the lighter side and not so thick, but there is a syrupy aspect to this beer too.

D - Its just an OK beer. The smell is just great, but the rest of the beer is just kind of good at best. I was really excited to try this since it was a 2008 vintage but I'm not getting too much out of this beer. I'd give it a 3.75 but I have to kind of down play this part.

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Photo of Verecund
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout, received as an extra from mikesgroove. Opened on 01.14.2011; 6.6 oz poured into a snifter. The other 16 oz used to make ice cream.

Fittingly black, with a half-finger tan head that recedes to a contact about the glass. The body looks a little thinned out.

Surprisingly rich nose. There's some oxidized-imparted sherry, an earthy roastiness that's faded into the stale coffee grounds aroma. Bittersweet chocolate. I'm quite taken with this nose. It reminds me of a two-year old Expedition Stout: rich, sweet dark maltiness, molasses, some complementing oxidation, a small bit of dark fruit, and a former hop bitterness that transforms into a slightly astringent, herbally/tobacco note.

Taste is nice, but not as rich as the nose. Really old coffee grounds and bittersweet chocolate. Some roast on the front and herbal on the finish. Slightly hallowed out, I think, and past its prime.

Just under medium-bodied (slightly too thin), a nice dryness on the back of the palate.

Much better than I expected and impressive given that no flavoring adjuncts were added here. If you've got it, I'd open it sooner rather than later, but it's drinking nicely.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage poured into a snifter.

Appearance- jet black and pours syrup like. Brown sugar colored head that doesn't stick around for very long.

Aroma- coffee and dark chocolate and vanilla are very prominent. Very little alcohol smell.

Taste- the coffee is not as prominent in the taste as it was in the smell. Dark chocolate and vanilla are there, though. I think something is missing, but I can't pinpoint what it is. Maybe if the alcohol was a little more pronounced it would add that missing element.

Mouthfeel- thick would be the only word I can think of. It coats you whole mouth and sticks around. Yum.

Drinkablity- very easy to drink. This is a smooth operator. Even though it is easy to drink I don't know if I would have another, even if I had one to drink, based on the 9.5 abv.

Great beer. I think that this would be better fresh or with only a year on it. I think something has dropped off while it was going into the 2nd year.
Thanks to cbros for this!

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Photo of biglite351
3.11/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - slight strip of red at the edges. Creamy brown head leaving mo lacing.

S - Dark chocolate and roasted malts. Some fruit, raisins, in the after taste.

T - fruity malts with some coffee and dark cocoa. Bitter in the follow through.

M - light coating with a nice tingle on the sides of the tongue.

D - the bitter after taste makes it a one bottle only.

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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.

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

Thanks Pete.

Beer is black and appears thick as its poured into the glass. Beer has a thin tiny head of brown bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Beer smells like sweet coffee and chocolate.

Beer is medium bodied and quite sweet as a lead off. Its strong in the chocolate and coffee. Its thick in the midpalate. Beer is kind of like fudge. The coffee and milk sweetness comes later in the palate, quite good overall.

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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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for this one.

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with a fairly large off-white head.

S: Plenty of roasted malts and coffee on the nose. Some mild chocolate notes underneath, with a bit of a dark fruit character underneath.

T: A good bitterness is quite noticeable right away, as is the coffee and roast. There's a mild acidity, which I normally don't find appealing in a stout, but it isn't horrible here. Some bittersweet chocolate helps to provide some sort of balance and there is a mild coffee grounds note on the finish.

M: The body is medium with a fairly lively level of carbonation.

D: Another beer that hides the alcohol quite well, probably due to all the different flavors going on. A pretty nice beer, actually.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a tan head. Smells of sweetened coffee and light somewhat powdery chocolate. The taste is very similar and relatively light, with some bitter chocolate notes and some leather on the end. Smooth and very easy to drink. This is not one of those big, viscous impy stouts, but for what it is it's quite nice.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, 2008 vintage marked on bottle, purchased at Bruisin' Ales in early May 2010.

Pours pitch black with a one-finger, fluffy brown head that sticks around for maybe the first couple of sips. Not much in the way of lacing, but seriously, this is a 2 year old Imperial Stout.

Nose is roasty, with a nice espresso note up top, bit of bitterness from that, a bit of dark cocoa underneath, nice acidity, and a spicy, complex alcohol note that brings in a bit of licorice. A bit of a musty, leathery note from the aging that fits in nicely. More than anything, pleased that this certainly reminds me of the regular Black Mocha, and quite true to the name.

Taste follows suit. Crisp black espresso up front, a bit of a snappy bitterness that fits nicely and is in no way out of place, with an underlying unsweetened dark chocolate note wrapped around some burnt sugar. There's a crispness to the bitterness; the spicy alcohol bite works with that, leaving a beer that's complex, well put together, angular, and right in between subtle and bold. I like this one a lot. Finish packs a bit of heat, some light dark fruits to go with the intense roastiness, maybe just a bit of licorice, and the last remnants of the alcohol fading away with one last burst of heat.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, carbonation is full and a bit sharp, maybe just a bit sticky, and with a clean-ness from the roasty bitterness.

Drinkability is good. Maybe just a bit much alcohol left, but still really nice - balanced, big without being hulking. Nice beer.

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