Peak XV Imperial Porter | Black Diamond Brewing Co.

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Peak XV Imperial PorterPeak XV Imperial Porter
119 Ratings
Peak XV Imperial PorterPeak XV Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Black Diamond Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A smooth drinking, dark porter brewed with raw cacao nibs and hand-cut Madagascar vanilla beans. Balanced between a coffee-like bitterness and a rich malt character, this ale is deceptively drinkable for an Imperial.

Added by 1759Girl on 08-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 119 |  Reviews: 55
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.18/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jeez, guys, I get it. You can put wax on your caps. But seriously, it's unnecessary for a crown capped bottle, and whatever you're using is ridiculously difficult to remove.

When I finally do extricate the beer from the shattering plastic of the cap, it fizzes violently, leaving an obscenely large, overcarbonated head a good 4 inches high, above a dark reddish black coloured body. Head is quite a deep beige colour, but is far too big - even a gentle pour gives me something I need to wade through to get to the actual beer.

Decent dark characters on the nose, with a sweet vanilla note that is almost unfortunately wiped out with a faintly vinous acidic presence. I think there's something funky going on here, because underlying everything are these very pleasant choc-vanilla notes that scream as though they want to come through as soft and sweet. But the acidity ruins it.

The acidity is less pronounced on the palate, but it does feel like there's something skewed a little weirdly here too. Fortunately, the pleasant nutty and vanilla characters stream through more robustly here, especially on the back, leaving a round and sweet afterpalate. Through the centre, there is a rather pleasant dollop of roasted, charred grain bitterness which adds some depth to the palate. Feel is a little thin for such a strong flavoured beer, but it's not too bad.

There's something a little off about this beer overall, and even if it got everything right, it wouldn't be a stellar example of a flavoured American Porter. But it's drinkable enough. More like credible homebrew than credible commercial craft though.

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Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
4.5/5  rDev +36.8%

Photo of maximum12
1/5  rDev -69.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to a well-meaning good trader for throwing this into a recent deal.

Unfortunately, this turned into a debacle. After struggling to negotiate the diamond-hard, but pretty, golden wax, the top finally popped off - & out came beer. All over the countertop, floor, my slippers, the bottle, opener, everything. Gusher!

I thought maybe I'd done something, but no. One whiff of this beast verified a serious problem - sour, disgusting, vile fruit flowed up from the neck of the bottle. I even tried to pour it, but got an ounce or two of beer with a full snifter full of angry white foam. A sip or two confirmed a foul infection. My wife took one sniff & refused to let it touch her chaste lips.

Infected. Drain pour. Disappointed, this one sounded good.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of twelveinches
2.5/5  rDev -24%

Photo of zekeman17
4.18/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of popery
3.6/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

These Black Diamond imperial porters have been all over the place for me. I loved the normal keg version, disliked the barrel-aged one and this bottle is just pretty good, so far. The beer pours a very, very dark ruby, essentially black, though it's just barely transparent with enough light and some color is evident. The head is creamy and beige. A morass of fine bubbles. The aroma improves significantly as it warms up to room temperature. Roasted malt, vanilla and chocolate fight it out for domination. I like it, particularly the vanilla, but there's a funny lactic note hanging around that nearly spoils the party. The flavor also suffers from this nearly sour note. I appreciate this flavor in some porters, but it's just holding back the richer flavors here. Chocolate and roasted notes seem poised in the background, but they don't come off nearly as creamy and rich as they should. Carbonation is also a problem. I would have preferred much gentler carbonation. It gets better if you let it sit, but the fizziness robs the beer of the thick, creamy feel that I got from the old keg version. I like this beer, but it's kind of a let-down. That said, I appreciate seeing a bolder bottled beer from Black Diamond and hope that they keep it up.

 1,252 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
2.66/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Nice finger and half of tan head on a black body.
The aroma is chocolate with a touch of vanilla. It's nice but tough to distinguish any other smells.
Well, this combination of porter, vanilla beans and cacao nibs is a bad idea. There's a bitter/sour/chocolate taste throughout that ruins the whole thing.
The texture is thicker with low carbonation.
Not recommended unless you'd like a sour chocolate porter.

 446 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.73/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Faint crackle from the head; dark mahogany color. Aromas are a bit faint—vanilla and cacao nibs are there with yeast, even more faint acrid roasted grain and currants. Vanilla drops some sweetness, and roasty flavors pull on the palate a bit but don’t really flesh out. Yeast tone clashes with the roasted character. Beef broth? The finish becomes a little less desirable with the yeast coming to the forefront as well as a bitter tone from the lingering roasted flavor. A cleanup job is needed here.

 563 characters

Photo of kwjd
3.61/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with tan head. Smell has lots of chocolate and roasted malt, but there is a lactic flavour in there. I get some coffee in the aftertaste more than upfront. I think bottle may be slightly off, but it could be what the brewer intended. It was still fine though.

 278 characters

Photo of snaotheus
2.77/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a large stein. Can't find a best by or bottled on date.

Pours black with a bug luxurious head, which fades very slowly, and is supported by a healthy amount of carbonation. Smell is chocolatey, a little vanilla, yeast.

Taste is chocolatey, vanilla, sweet. Some cherry. Too sweet. I expect a lot more roastiness from a porter. Something about this makes me think of a chocolate soda. It is not bad, but not what I want from a porter.

Mouthfeel is thick but has an oily slickness. Overall, this is not a well conceived beer.

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Photo of lillitnn92
4.25/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of flexabull
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a pretty good white head.

Aromas are of cocoa, light vanilla, some coffee and cream. Smells good, but a little bit unnatural.

Taste is not as strong as I thought it might be. Soft and creamy up front, cocoa, and hints of vanilla. Finish is crisp, with some warmth and a really roasted malt character.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth, and actually a touch light.

Drinkability is not bad. It's a pretty good porter, doesn't seem like an "imperial" beer though.

I wonder if this is a reworked batch, no wax, and isn't nearly as bad as prior reviews suggest.

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Photo of CoryR
4/5  rDev +21.6%

Photo of Keith_R
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of aquazr1
3.48/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Overlord
1.26/5  rDev -61.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours brownish black with a gigantic, overflowing, insane head. I mean, it's just ridiculous. I immediately suspected infection. Yeah, it was just starting to take hold. The ten inches of foam per one inch of beer was a light tan.

Smells like roasted malt, slightly sour/infected yeasty coffee, and ... ugh. SMells bad.

Tastes bad, too. Some light fake-y tasting vanilla, a bit of chocolate, but mostly it's an enormous sourish charcoal roasted astringent/acrid mess.

So. carbonated.

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Photo of robgage
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of SpdKilz
1.61/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance - After chipping at the damn bottle for a good few minutes trying to open it (note to Black Diamond Brewing Co. - never ever use this material again) the bottle was ready to pour. After reading about infections I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the best but alas, with an extremely mild pour there was five fingers of head with two fingers of beer. Great. Head slowly dissipates and leaves good looking lacing at least. Beer pours a chocolate color with hints of light showing through the edges of the glass.

Smell - Metal, disgusting vanilla extract (again Black Diamond...splurge a bit and use legit vanilla extract not this obvious fake junk), slight coffee, and chocolate, and of course, a distinct infected tartness aroma. I'm in for a treat here aren't I?

Taste - Ug. As the reviewer below me noted, the infection is not horrible in the sense it is the only thing you can taste. Oh no...there is still plenty of gross five day old coffee ground flavor, along with the overbearing artificial vanilla. The infection comes in about midway and continues on to meld ever so nicely with a metallic aftertaste. I've had two sips of this and am about to drain pour it.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, though on the lighter side, insane amount of carbonation, dry, metallic finish.

Drinkability - There is none. I am in the process of drain pouring this. I would say avoid until the next batch to make sure there is no infection, but the artificial vanilla flavor is enough to never make me want to try this again anyways. Yuck.

 1,543 characters

Photo of jmccraney
4/5  rDev +21.6%

Photo of Kramerwtmf
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
2.93/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of ColSanders123
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of SHODriver
3.77/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a deep brown that is near black with a small tan head
S: smelled kinda like bourbon at first whiff. notes of vanilla and chocolate, slightly boozy which is shocking for the low alcohol, slight molasses note as well.
T: chocolate and vanilla mostly and kinda reminds me of a candy bar. kinda nutty too. aftertaste is more vanilla and chocolate
M: slightly prickly carbonation and a bit heavy in the mouth for a porter but not too much so
O: tastes pretty solid, kinda one sided as the malts are hidden by the vanilla and chocolate additions. a bit on the sweet side though. I strongly recommend sharing this beer with somebody as it's a bit much to drink by yourself.

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Peak XV Imperial Porter from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.29 out of 5 with 119 ratings