XXX Warlock Double Imperial Stout | Bristol Brewing Company

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XXX Warlock Double Imperial StoutXXX Warlock Double Imperial Stout
Very Good
82 Ratings
XXX Warlock Double Imperial StoutXXX Warlock Double Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Bristol Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 18.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-28-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 82 |  Reviews: 69
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

brewed in 2003, this was well ahead of its time. fortunately, i have some friends who forget they have beers like this in their cellars, and we get to break them out more than a decade later and check it out! how fun is this?! pours predictably flat, but somehow lighter in body and even color than anticipated, with a cool slickness in the glass and not a bubble to be found. smells old for sure, major oxidation, but it also seems to have held up pretty well for its age. the malt has some definitely milk chocolate aromas, along with a hint of permanent marker and tobacco, even peppery spice behind the booze. its a little less dynamic in the flavor. it starts off quite nice, earthy like a raw walnut, with marker and rum raisin, but it moves to a harsh soy thing in the later stages, combined with some epic staleness, im sure this was radically different when it came out. still, i found it an enjoyable after dinner cordial type drink, still hotly alcoholic, but impressive in some ways. now when i drink beers this big, id much rather have something like an uncle jacobs, but i like appreciate it just as much in this context. bristol should consider brewing this up again...

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4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of IPA1978
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sips like a port! Thick warm sweet alcohol followed by roasted malts, figs and chocolate.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened 11/27/2014 at approx 11 years of age

Highest ABV beer I have tried. Pours nearly black with thinning tawny-brown highlights. A thin compact head can be produced with a moderate pour. This coats the glass like a spirit and leaves the most pronounced legs of any beer I have seen.

The aroma is compelling. Initially chocolate is the most pronounced. This is quickly followed by sherry, teriyaki, raisins, and a something like a whiff of soy sauce. I was fairly certain that this beer would have gone past its drinkable stage, and the aroma indicated that the flavor might just be a meaty mess. What followed was a pleasant surprise.

In an unexpected twist for an old beer, the flavor was actually better than the already good aroma. The soy sauce/teriyaki/umami flavors were very subdued. Maple, instant coffee, dusty old chocolate, hints of vanilla, and prunes come to mind. Sherry is present as well. The alcohol is amazingly hidden, but this prickles on the tongue in a very pronounced way. Very little "heat" on the palate, but still more so than something like a port wine of the same strength. The body is still very much intact with impressive sweetness and (amazingly) some bitterness. I suppose the original 80 IBUs did the trick. Almost syrupy except for the massive smooth alcohol.

Conclusion: Very enjoyable. Shared with family at Thanksgiving and everyone was at least intrigued ("you call this a beer?!?!" -mom). I would love to have tried this back in 2006 when it was released, as it was probably a beer of massive flavor if it still has strength at this age. It could be aged longer and still be enjoyable, but I don't see the point. It is already on the decline and I don't think more age could benefit it. Perhaps the first stout I have tried that could last this long without losing the battle to oxidation.

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Photo of Ebond007
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Pours a medium brown color with decent clarity. The aroma is straight booze, pretty much rocket fuel. The taste is kind of nice, raisins and rum, oxidized malt, sherry and faint roast. Thin for the strength, still has plenty of good carbonation. Overall, a pretty solid huge assed ale.

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Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of backslide311
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of graysandpeas
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of popery
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of mattizmyname
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of stakem
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ClockworkOrange for sharing this one at our stout tasting. 12oz bottle into a snifter several times because I guess I like it when a beer makes my face go numb. The brew appears a color of deep burnt mahogany to brown. A couple small bubbles make their way to the surface but a head is never really formed. When held to the light, the brew displays some lighter cocoa brown coloring around the edges and hints of ruby. When swirled, clear legs of alcohol paint the glass and slowly droop down back into the solution.

The aromatics are quite filled with molasses and dark fruit. A bit of an oxidized touch brings out some sherry qualities. Almost a hint of chocolate covered cherries mixing with raisins and toffee. While cold, the nose is all about caramelized sugars but when a deep whiff is taken, a bit of numbing alcohol emerges. In no way does this brew smell like it is 18+ percent alcohol though.

The taste is also minorly oxidative with hints of cardboard and something along the lines of oak. Taking a close look at the label, I dont see anything leading to the notion that this was oak aged but it does have a bit of woody earthy quality about it. Some dry molasses, chocolate, licorice and a fusel whack of booze. As it warms up, a serious focus on earthy prunes or raisins comes out along with that numbing alcohol and almost a nuttiness towards the finish.

This is a full bodied brew with a low level of carbonation that is borderline still but not in any way distracting from the style. I mean, at this high alcohol level, seeing some natural carbonation would be unexpected and maybe a bit unwelcomed. This is a sticky brew that I was back and forth about. Initially I thought it was ok but then it really grew on me. Not something I would be able to tackle a bottle of myself but I am very appreciative for the share Jason!

Side notes/considerations. This was brewed in '03 and bottled in '06. Anyone know what transpired over that 3 years? Having never had this brew before, I cant really comment on whether it is holding up or degrading. However, I can state that the oxidation is quite present and the booze is not mellow by any stretch. If you have bottles of this kicking around; you waited this long, I dont see the harm in waiting another 6 years to give it a try.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of eagles22
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jfcaa193
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Schmittymack
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of Jeffo
2.52/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Got this one from Doodler. Thanks for hanging out man. Good times!

From a bottle into a snifter.

Brewed: 25 September 2003
Bottled: 9 June 2006
Brewed with maple syrup and honey

APPEARANCE: A light and transparent brown pour produces a small, thin, bubbly, crackly tan head that vanishes instantly. Flat looking. Black body, transparent for the style, and zero carbonation evident. Looks flat to the finish. Lifeless and thin looking.

SMELL: Some roasted malts, brown sugar, maple syrup soaked cherries, and some dark, pure chocolate. Maple syrup is definitely still there, and a strong presence of dark chocolate soaked in cherry liquor. This is actually really nice, though you can tell the 18% will be all over your face.

TASTE: Some roasted malts, but then lots of boozy sweet cherry liquor and brown sugar. The 18% is there in all it’s glory. Very liquor like, with sweet maple syrup, sweet cherry liquor and dark chocolaty flavors at the finish. Very much like the nose. Aftertaste is big and persistent with lots of boozy and sweet cherry liquor, dark chocolate, and some definite maple syrup. Good flavor profile for sure, but really just too boozy. I question whether they needed 18% to achieve the flavor complexity they wanted.

PALATE: Thinner body and prickly, airy carbonation. Not creamy or smooth, goes down rough with a big burn after the swallow and finishes rather sticky. Wish it was thicker and creamier, but as of now, it’s a thin, abrasive, hot booze bomb.

OVERALL: The look and feel were atrocious, but the nose and flavor were actually quite inviting. The 18% booze was simply too present, however, to really make this one an enjoyable brew to drink. Perhaps toning it back a bit would let the cherries, chocolate and maple syrup be showcased a bit more without all the booze. Regardless, where the brew really fell short was in the lack-luster appearance and the thin, boozy, abrasive feel. Fix these perhaps, and this might be a more impressive creation.

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Photo of csmiley
2/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Warlock XXX brewed 9/25/03 bottled 6/9/06, 80 ibu 18.4 % abv

Many thanks to prototypic for helping with this one.

A - Pours a very dark brown. It's the color of cola around the edges. Head is minimal to non existent. This, in turn, decimates the chances for lacing. What do you expect for this abv?

S - Lots of chocolate (bittersweet and milk) in the aroma. It's not nearly as warm as expected. Some hints of maple come through midway. Some roasted malt comes through on the end. It's hard to pick up over the other aromas though.

T - Alright. This is well below my expectations. I could even say far below . Starts with maple and alcohol. It just comes across as a chocolate mess. Smoked meat towards the end. Unimpressed.

M - Fuller bodied with very little carbonation. Finish is hot and just destroys the palate. Too much.

D - Not good. Not good at all. The only information I can impart is "Keep a chaser on hand for this one.".

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Photo of prototypic
1.76/5  rDev -54%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Many thanks to csmiley for splitting the bottle.

Bottled in 2006.

XXX Warlock pours a dark, mahogany brown color. It's not opaque. Light cuts through and reveals strong burgundy highlights. The head...well...never arrived. A few bubbles collected on the top, but they disappeared as fast as they arrived. Lacing was also non-existent. I know there's too much alcohol, but it's still disappointing.

The nose is interesting. It kicks off with a strong blast of dark fruit. Raisin, plum, and a little prune are all present. There are some light cocoa and caramel notes. Smells a little sweet. Alcohol is very prevalent on the nose. Way too strong. Between the strong dark fruit and alcohol, it's nigh impossible to detect some of the traditional Stout notes. It actually smells more consistent with a Barleywine.

The flavor is equally as interesting. It kicks off with a very sweet mix of caramel and maple syrup. Cocoa-esque chocolaty notes follow. There's an interesting flavor in there that I can't quite peg. It might be soy sauce, but I'm not sure. Dark fruit flavors of raisin and prune are definitely strong. Alcohol is extremely strong in flavor and is definitely hot. Finishes with dark fruit and booze. This is a mess.

XXX Warlock has a medium body. Carbonation is light. It's not horrible, but it feels too thin for a beast this big. Drinkability is very poor. This is boozy, hot, jumbled mess. An entire bottle would truly be a chore.

Bristol Brewing Company did the right thing in retiring XXX Warlock. It is not good, and nothing could possibly be done to redeem or improve it. It doesn't even taste much like a Stout. It's definitely more of a Barleywine. A boozy one. That tastes bad. Exercise the utmost caution when approaching a bottle.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 12 ounce bottle a month or so ago at Santa Fe Liquors for a little more than ten bucks. Brewed in 2003, bottled in 2006.

Pours a dark brown color, reddish around the edges, with a quickly disappearing medium brown head. It stings the nostrils, with hot alcohol, maple syrup and dark brown sugar.

Sweet on the palate, boozy, dark brown sugar, smoke, maple, wood and a little fudge. Still hot after 7 years, this one should hold up for many more.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.18/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A-pours a clear dark brown liquid with red hues. The head is a light tan color, thin and bubbly

S-the nose is huge and intense. Tons of booze, rubbing alcohol ish. Notes of cherries and rum soaked raisins with a touch of chocolate and molasses.

T-ouch, tons of alcohol, rubbing alcohol burns the taste buds. Notes of cherries and rums soaked in Nikolai Vodka with some burnt wood in the back.

M-brutally harsh on the palate, it stings and burns the tongue.

D-this is a big boozy mess...enough said.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
2.71/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks hart for sharing this one!

A- Appearance is very interesting. At first the body looks like it is a nice translucent dark cola color. What amazed me is when held up to the light the body shines and sparkles as it is a completely transparent jewely dark amber hue. Pours with a small fizzy off-white head the completely disappears.

S-The nose is all booze. Lots and lots of grain alcohol or maybe cheap vodka. Underneath this all when you can finally get past it are some typical stout characteristics such as plum and anise underneath. The nose is strong and pretty much burns your nostrils.

T- Flavor is much better than the nose. What is really interesting is that this brew pretty much tastes like a campfire. Roasted malt, dark chocolate, burnt marshmallows, and a hint of molasses...and of course a slight alcohol flavor and big alcohol warmth at the conclusion.

M- Astringent with alcohol, low to medium carbonation, but relatively thick and slightly creamy.

D-The flavor is decent-but overall this is still way too hot. An interesting brew overall but not sure what else to expect with an 18.4% brew. Not very drinkable.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Closer to mahogany than obsidian. The caramel colored crown began as a thick disk, then quickly fizzed into the atmosphere, leaving nothing but a thin rim of bubbly residue by the one minute mark. Clearly, age and ABV took a serious toll on head and lace.

Maple syrup and honey were used, at least in part, to boost alcohol. The first of those (though not the second) is easily appreciated in a nose that has power, complexity and character. The beer smells more like a roasted and chocolate malted barleywine than an Imperial stout. Here's hoping this isn't the highlight of this experience.

XXX Warlock is unique craft beer, which isn't easy to accomplish these days. The sky-high ABV sets it apart right off the bat, but the flavor profile is interesting and is definitely not as expected. In addition, the mouthfeel has probably taken a significant hit in the almost seven years since brewing and almost four years since bottling.

While Double Imperial Stout doesn't quite fit, it's the closest to being correct. In addition to black coffee and bittersweet chocolate, XXX has the raisin and dark caramel character of a BSDA without the Belgian yeast. It also has quite a bit of aniseed, which is always a plus. The alcohol is very easy to deal with, which probably wasn't the case several years ago.

The mouthfeel is reminiscent of an aged English barleywine. In other words, it's thinner than expected, but has a lightly oily linger that is pleasant in a high-alcohol sipper. A soft 'pffft' on crown cracking presaged a gentle mouthfeel that is nowhere near flat.

If it wasn't too hot, XXX Warlock Double Imperial Stout was probably more impressive beer in 2008 than in early 2010. It's still pretty tasty stuff and should last in this general state for another few years. Thanks to Mebuzzard for sending the bottle during a trade that took place long, long ago.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
2.4/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 fluid oz bottle poured into my snifter

Pours a very dark brown color, when held up to the light there is ruby red hues showing. Off-colored white head that fades very quickly barely leaving a ring on the edges of the glass. No lacing at all coming from this beer.

Smell is very strong of soy sauce, cloying like, molasses, black leather, and a strong almost liquor like alcohol odor.

I get hints of dark roasted chocolate upfront that leads to a sweet almost cloying like soy-sauce taste. Very dry coffee bitter taste shows up at the end, maybe the use of black malt?

Full bodied with low carbonation, dry and very bitter sweet cloy like aftertaste. Almost gives you heartburn.

This is not a beer for the weak of heart. I would never consider drinking more then one of these, and this one will be my last.

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XXX Warlock Double Imperial Stout from Bristol Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 82 ratings