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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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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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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Photo of brentk56
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a prune juice deep purple with a modest head that barely hangs around - no lace, but what would you expect given the age and ABV

Smell: The best part, with port like qualities of rum soaked raisins, tobacco, molasses and alcohol

Taste: Opens with a blast of prune, dark raisin and burning alcohol; by the time you get to the swallow the flavors are joined by tobacco and blackstrap molasses; hints of dark chocolate and maple syrup appear at the end; lots of dark sherry oxidized flavors throughout

Mouthfeel: A lot of heat, a viscous liquid and low carbonation

Drinkability: Its hard to think of this as an Imperial Stout; its very different and while you either love it or hate it, I will grant it some value but ultimately find it almost impossible to consume

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Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of russpowell
4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle has a bottled on date of 6/9/06 with 18.4 abv pours into a narrow champagne flute to copy the glass they brewery was selling to accompany this offering

Pours almost burgundy/black (claret when held the light) with about 1/3" of white head. When you swirl this tinny bubbles cling to the glass & it crawls down the glass like transmission fluid

S: Gorgeous nose: Plums, chocolate cake, cork, charred oak & raisins. Alcohol scents show up late to the party.

T: Rich, chocolate, raisins, Christmas pudding & brandy & port all run across the tongue. Burned toffee & warming alcohol come through as this warms. Leather also shows up along with baker chocolate& molasses. Finishes warming, choclatey, charred woody & fruit cakey

MF: Almost no carbonation, sticky, syruppy, chewy & oily

Drinks very easy for the abv. There needs to be a triple category for stouts & ipas & such, these beers are getting so damn big! & Why didn't they make more??? Will attempt to hold on to the few I have left & sample much latter. Hope I actually live up to that promise

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hey, it's Elrond from that old Hobbit cartoon!

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body. Any potential head is killed by the high alcohol presence.

Smell: Roasty, sugary aroma with notes of raisins, molasses, soy, and booze. Where're we going with this, Elrond?

Taste: Roasted malts with an almost neverending sweetness. Drizzle of molasses, a dash of soy. Strong taste of raisins. Sear of alcohol on the finish yielding a taste of over-sugared coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I can respect it for its sheer size, and try my darndest to excuse it for its lack of grace.

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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 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 jwc215
4.66/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a rubyish tint. A tan head vanishes to a ring - not surprisingly considering abv level. Some spotted lacing manages to hold on...

The smell is powerful - you can smell it at quite some distance. Maple and dark malt - lightly roasted with chocolate, toffee, caramel and molasses. Dark fruits (prunes/plums/dates) and vinuous notes complement the malty complexities. Earthiness and a woodiness also present themselves well. Hugely complex, this is a treasure to smell...

The huge complexities follow through from the nose to the taste. The dark malt, maple, and dark fruits intertwine exceedingly well. The alcohol adds spice to it, making it warming. Despite the huge complexities and high abv, it is very smooth. It has a long, sweetish finish.

Full-bodied, rich and creamy with just enough carbonation to keep it from being overly thick.

This is a work of art! A great one to sip on in the cool/cold weather. Very well-done...highly recommended!

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this one back from his trip! Wish it were available locally!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

XXX Warlock Double Imperial Stout, Bristol Brewing.
"Double Imperial"??? Cor, Blimey!

Darkness in abundance, with a head that goes small to none.

Nose is motor oil and molasses...plum, dark rum, plump and gooey. Sweet, if syrupy.

Flavor starts harsh, bitter, hoppy, and big on the booze. Rich, thick dark malt, sweetness, then bitter...dark fruits meet tar and pitch.

Brewed: 9/25/03
bottled: 6/9/06c
consumed: 5/28/08
18.4% abv....you don't say...I'm getting the toffee hinted at on the label, but it's blended with brandy, and the alcohol has the upper hand, here, really dominating the flavor. ....not quite as mellow as advertised. Quite a hottie, actually.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to dauss and Bitterbill

Pours a clean/clear black color, tons of carbonation, little fizzy head which dissappears quickly, two small island left behind. The nose is of malts, alcohol, toffee, coffee, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, big alcohol bite, and caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice brew, but compared to DL no way, baby. I like it, but the alcohol is not hidden very well. Highly recommended though.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't have a snifter, so used a pint glass. Oh, well, I'm not complaining.
Pours a dark, clean liquid. Perhaps looks a bit oily. Minimal brown head, slick around the sides.
Smells of hot caramel, toffee, some molasses. Dark fruits are noticeable, as is a hint of alcohol. Chocolate seems to mix with a stint of bbq sauce based in bourbon. Very complex.
Taste is wonderful. The first feeling is a brandy. Some dark cherry, oak, cocao, coffee and caramel all seem to blend nicely. Hops make a quick appearance to separate the fruits from the more earthy characteristics. Finishes smooth, little alcohol burn from the 19%.
I put 5 on drinkability; the poured amount was adicting, however only a half bottle, maybe a full bottle is quite enough, or too much

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Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +11%

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 biegaman
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A gastly snow storm hit and this seems only appropriate. Brewed 9/25/03 and bottled 6/9/06 and finally poured into my glass 3/1/07. 18.4% listed abv. HUGE thanks Harry for sharing!
Pours near opaque black, underlying purply highlights. Head wouldn't last very long, two third of the bubbles would part to the sides leaving only a small patch in the middle. One sniff sent me flying! Lots of roast malt, some chocolatey notes, anise, light coffee, oak, dark fruits, and substancially way more alcohol than all those things combined. The smell is stronger than the sum of its parts combined. An actually fairly (considering 19% frickin percent!) smooth mouthfeel. The maple syropy does well to compliment the body, which is sticky, and sweet, and cloying already considering the strong makeup. The maple syrop and honey were both cleverly designed to cover the strength... and they do so quite well. Flavours of chocolate, prunes, brandy or port, with aftertaste of maple. Most impressive you can still taste the malts! Holds it together quite well.
This could cure a cold! I could gladly sip this all night long because, rightfully so, it would take me all night long to finish. But very impressive. This is instant relaxation...very nice...

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brewed September 2003, Bottled June 2006, Sampled June 2007
You can smell the oxidation effect of three years of aging as you pour this beer; notes of sherry, umami like notes and musty barley-tamari are quite evident. The beer musters almost a three-finger thick, frothy, extremely large bubbled consistency, light brownish, tan colored head that quickly disappears to a small ring of froth that clings to the sides of the glass. Not really as black as I was expecting, brown, brilliantly clear, concentrated sherry colors are seen around the edges and even the beer itself has a solid brown tinge to its darkness. Visually this beer is thick and concentrated enough to actually have the legs of a desert wine, though it is not quite so pronounced as that.

Quite aromatic, no matter what one might think of the aromas. Notes of oxidized molasses, tamari, brown sugar, syrup-concentrated prune juice, chocolate liquor, concentrated sherry & tons of rich, chewy, meaty, umami-like characterizations spring to mind as I dig around in the nose of this brew. Towards the end is a definite alcohol aroma, though it is not hot, more warming in character and a bit smoother than one might expect from an 18 + % brew.

Thick and syrupy in texture, with a light, but still noticeable carbonation. The most distinguishable note after the first sip is a musty, dirty cobweb or even moldy broccoli type flavor that is in the late-middle and finish of this brew. Up front notes of molasses, super-sweetened yet smooth espresso, chocolate espresso, some light Kahlua like notes, some brown sugar flavors (separate from the molasses) or perhaps that is really more like blackened maple flavors, deeply caramelized - almost - blackened notes of berry-flavored toffee. I can't shake that blackened, slightly burnt vegetal character; my previous broccoli descriptor almost fits too well. The oxidation / aged malt flavors, while evident, are not quite as prominent as I expected based on the nose. Still notes of burnt sherry, tamari and meaty-aged malt notes are noticeable here. This is clearly a sipping brew; it is strong enough that the flavors are quite concentrated.

After some time & tasting, the aroma starts to take on some rich, hazelnut overtones that reallys tart to make things interesting. Smooth almond notes start to come to the fore and actually over-take the hazelnut notes. This may be that 18% talking, but the aroma is starting to get sublime; I wish the rest of the beers character lived up to this.

What an experience, despite the obvious flaws, this beer is big enough to come off being complex and interesting. Each sip is a journey of often conflicting layers of flavor. A lot more dark malt character could have been packed into this brew, in fact a healthy dose of black patent, roast barley and chocolate malt character would have helped hide flaws and certainly would have added a new dimension to this already dimensioned brew. I think I described this as an interesting, at times engaging, definitely complex, and at other times even off-putting; this is definitely a beer worth trying, and I think I might sit on my other bottle for five years, or perhaps until I remember to get around to it again. I have a feeling this thing could easily go 50 years without getting worse and it might even get significantly better.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.49/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from 12 oz foil wrapped bottle a very dark brown with reddish hues and a small head of foam that disappeared almost immediately.

The smell is wow. Huge notes of cocoa, dark fruit, vanilla, molasses, brandy, caramel, fig...

The taste on first sip is loaded with dark fruit like plum, raisin, fig, black cherry and then... there's the vanilla floating around in the background along with some toffee and maple syrup. Wow. This brew really demands your attention but at the same time says, take your time lest evil befall you... And that's no problem for me because as complex and as tasty as it is, there's *no* denying the prowess it has in the abv department. Damn, I wish it was about 20 below out...just kidding. ;^) I *will* say that I'm not getting an alcohol "burn" but hey, I'm taking very VERY small sips.

Well, I'm going to finish the review before I finish the brew and that's quite unusual for me but, I have to say, of the really huge brews in the +15%abv range that I've tried, this one is the most "drinkable". Well done Bristol Brewing!!

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to jasonmech77 for sharing this...
Appears a dense, dark brown with a small, off-white head that quickly fades out. Little remnants of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of fudge, fresh brownies, roasted nuts, molasses, tobacco, figs, brown sugar, caramelized malt, earthy, mineraly, fruity...wow. Smells amazing but very potent.
Taste is of the same mentioned aromas with many fruity esters standing out including flavors of rum cake, peanuts, brown sugar, and raisins.
Mouthfeel is chewy, sugary, very hot, along with tons of cloying raw sugar up front.
This one drinks like a brandy. I think if the next species that evolves after the demise of humans ever takes on drinking(and if they find this), it will still be too cloying and hot.
It shows flashes of World Wide Stout, and Mephistopholes.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.06/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a deep deep brown, no head and no carbonation but then again it is old. On the nose it smelled of maybe smoked meat, raisins or prunes and maybe some dark chocolate. The taste was like GROSS. It was like someone dumped prune juice into the batch and aged it. Mouthfeel was bad bad bad. I have had other Imperials and they blow this out of the water. It is unique but not something I could drink. Speaking of that, drinkability is low. 18% ABV prune juice??? You can keep this beer!

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Photo of DrJay
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

grub was kind enough to share this one. Thanks Russ!
This beer was dark brown with clear ruby edges, not nearly as dark as I expected. It had a short-lived frothy cap that fell to a thin ring, but left some spotty, sticky lacing behind. The aroma was of chocolate covered raisins and vinous, port-like alcohol with lots of dried fruit (prunes and figs) and significant alcohol that remained quite mellow. The flavour was very boozy up front, with fruity figs and raisins as well, followed by chocolate, grain, sugary sweetness and a hint of maple sap. Bitterness was relatively low and hidden in the background. Alcohol remained prominent throughout, but became more mellow towards the finish. Full bodied with lowish carbonation and lots of warmth. There really wasn't much in the way of roast character and it was mellower than I expected. I did enjoy the aroma much more than the flavour, though I don't really have any complaints there either.

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Photo of Viggo
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

HUGE thanks to grub for snagging this for me for BC2, much appreciated!!!

I can smell this malty fuck as soon as I pop the cap!

Pours a decently clear very dark brown, some reddish highlights, two finger brown head forms, big bubbles, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, no lace, but this looks like an oil slick. Smell is insane, the maltiest beast I've ever smelled. Tons of licorice, dates, toffee, chocolate, nice roast, fruity alcohol, very rich, alcohol is pretty well hidden for something of this ABV! Taste smacks you in the face, molasses, bit of vanilla oak, lots of toffee, some alcohol, rich sherry flavour in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. This thing goes down with some insane heat, so be prepared. Low drinkability because of this factor. Very cool beer, very happy I got to try this! Thanks a ton Russ

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I shared a 12 oz bottle with a friend. This stout was black but not as dark as most. The smell was nice and inviting. The mouthfeel was prickly from the carbonation and alcohol. It felt weird. The taste was strange as it began stout-like and then I tasted the molasses and the honey. The drinkability is not high given the ABV. I'm glad I got to try this one but compared to the 2003 WWS I also had that night it fell short.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

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 popery
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a small tan head, that goes away quickly. In the aroma, toffee, coffee, and licorice. In the taste, same as the aroma, toffee, coffee, caramel, and a big alcohol presence. A smooth and big body, with a dry whiskey and caramel aftertaste. Big beer, big flavor and big alcohol. Nice sipper.

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