Black Powder Imperial Stout | Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing Co.

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Black Powder Imperial StoutBlack Powder Imperial Stout
38 Ratings
Black Powder Imperial StoutBlack Powder Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2006

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 28
Reviews by n2185:
Photo of n2185
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a finger of light tan head that recedes into a thin cap with an almost solid sheet of lacing down the glass.

S: Dark fruit up front--prunes, raisins, etc.--followed by molasses and a yeasty aroma. Very little roasted malt in the aroma, surprisingly.

T: Similar to the aroma, I get dark fruit flavors first along with some molasses. The roasted malts kick in at the end along with a hearty bread flavor. The finish is slightly bitter and bready.

M: Medium-thick body with light carbonation and an overall fairly creamy feel.

D: Somewhat creamy with not much bitterness or sweetness to it, so it goes down fairly smooth.

Overall, a pretty unique RIS. It's almost more like a dark doppelbock with its strong bready flavors. Still, an enjoyable beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque black with a tight mocha colored one fingered head that lasted for quite awhile,aromas of sweet butter and rum with notes of bitter chocolate and dark roast coffee.A little light in the mouth but not watery by any means it actually went down very easy,flavors of bitter chocolate and heavily roasted malt a light touch of rum creeps in as well.The alcohol zip comes on more as it warms but never dominates,a nice winter seasonal it warms u up with out the heavy fullness that alot of impy stouts bring.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Head is fluffy and lessens with audible sizzling. Opaque dark brown to fudge-black--not an oily blackout as some bigger stouts, but certainly no slouch. Leaves strings of coffee-foam lace on the glass. Pouring and swirling seems to indicate a thinness of body.

Malted milk balls, shaved baking chocolate and coffee in the nose, also some steamed milk, and a rather mineral vibe to the whole thing.

In the mouth, it's clearly thinner in texture than many comparable stouts. It's creamy but not thick, with ample carbonation and remarkable dryness. Coffee and dusty baking chocolate in the finish. The flavor itself it more like a big oatmeal stout of milk stout--softness in texture leads to an earthy, grainy flavor, coffee bitterness and Hershey's-like milk chocolate sweetness. As it warms, it takes on a luscious chocolate syrup kind of vibe, and that's when Black Powder is at its best. Just a little bit of alcohol in the background, adding a supportive warmth but generally well-hidden.

Black Powder is part of Natty's Green's Bigdraft Series. Glad to see this brewery taking it up a notch; some of their big beers have been pretty great on tap, and seeing them in bottles with wider availability can only be a good thing. N.G.'s doesn't even call this a Russian Imperial Stout (just "Imperial Stout"), so it might be wise to consider this an American double stout instead? In any case, Black Powder is not the greatest thing under the big stout umbrella, but it's certainly worth a shot.

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Photo of Mavajo
2.94/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nearly-black body with a light tan/cream head. Not quite opaque, and looks kind of thin.

Aroma is disappointing. Malt, grain and perhaps a hint of booze. One of the weakest noses I've ever encountered on an imperial stout, although it does open up more as it warms (I started at cellar temp). Taste is sub-par. Malt, grain, a kiss of roast...and not much else. As it warms, licorice/tobacco starts to emerge. Body is medium with reasonably brisk carbonation.

Honestly, one of the least interesting examples of an imperial stout that I've ever encountered. I will say that it's exceptionally easy-drinking -- but to me, that's a flaw in an *imperial* stout.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours black in the glass, with about a finger of dark mocha colored foamy head. Retains with some thick bunching around the edges of the glass plus some thinnish wisps that skirt the middle, leaving back a rich cascade of froth that quickly slides down the sides. The aroma is roasty smelling with malts and coffee, along with some sweeter accents of cocoa and caramel. A herbal and spicy hop profile is present, as is just a touch of a wet tobacco smell. I'm also getting some light warmth as well. Just very dark smelling overall.

The taste is sticky with chocolate and toffee and I'm also pleased to find a deep fruity center that wasn't quite there in the nose. Burnt roast and coffee give this a charred and bitter feel, while a firm dose of hops adds some spice to this. This finishes with a flush of dark sweetness before disappearing into a steady spicy dryness. The mouthfeel is medium-fuller bodied with a mellow sharp creaminess to the carbonation that sits on top of a much sweeter and thicker layer underneath. This does feel a bit light here in the body considering the big flavors and higher ABV of this.

This was a solid Imperial Stout with a rich but well balanced darkness to it. A bit more chewiness would have been welcomed in the body but this was largely pretty enjoyable stuff.

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Photo of dfclav
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

Thanks to n2185 for this one..

A - pours a fairly dark black with ruby highlights. The 1 1/2 finger head on my aggressive pour fell rather quickly, but held half a finger head pretty well and left creamy lacing on the glass.

S - bakers chocolate, licorice, vanilla, and a bit of booze. There are pretty heavy smoke and oaky notes in this beer which surprised me. As it warms, stale coffee grinds make an unfortunate appearance.

T - first sip brings huge earthy and licorice notes. The flavors act big at first but the malt base really dwindles them away rather quickly leaving a pretty big roasted oat taste. Alcohol taste breaks down and approaches an almost bourbon-like quality which is pretty appealing to me. Very smoky / dry finish that definitely has that goldings aftertaste. 

M - huge malt base really takes away from any hop twang here, though the bittering hops do a fantastic job at holding up their end. Solidly medium bodied.

O - this is a pretty neat take on an imperial stout and while it probably isn't for everyone it has some very appealing qualities for stout lovers. I'd say this is worth a try to a stout fan looking for a good tick...but not someone getting into the style.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nearly black. A little bit of brown/red on the edge of the edges. A finger of tan head sits on top and dissipates quickly.

The aroma is nice, will loads of roasted malts, and some cocoa. Sweetness is not overdone.

The taste is definitely the best part. Heaps of roasted malts, bitter chocolate and hints of espresso. There is a touch of alcohol, but does well to just give a bit of warming, not taking away the taste.

Feel is good, creamy, and medium to full in body. Little to no carbonation.

Fairly good drinkability. Definitely something I would drink a couple in a sitting.

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Photo of mattsmith413
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of berkey
2.66/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Didn't find a freshness date. From notes 07/06/10.

Formed a large mocha colored head, decent retention typical of the style, good lacing. Body is coal black.

Aroma is almost jarringly sweet to start. An initial wave of berries, sugar, and straight up alcohol almost overshadows the expected chocolate notes. Surprisingly little roast here.

The sugar and fruity character continues and seems out of place. It doesn't work well with an otherwise unremarkable flavor profile. Average for the style ABV isn't particularly well hidden either. Some toasted marshmallow and chalky cocoa in the aftertaste especially once it reaches room temperature.

I've heard it said that it's relatively easy to brew decent Imperial stout compared to other styles. Not sure if that's true but this one certainly manages to miss the mark. Gives me renewed respect for some of the great versions of the style that are out there.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black beer with a thin tan head. Very interesting aroma. I smell rum and kind of a earthy burnt ash or smoke aroma. Flavor is a bit different for the style too. Lots of roasted flavors hints of bitter chocolate and coffee but this is the most roasted flavored beer I've had. I also taste some fudge. Kuddos to Natty's for thinking outside the box. Mouthfeel is thing for the style but it's also less filling than other big stouts, which means you can drink more. It's a good beer. Doesn't rank up there with the best of them but it's good to drink when you want a differnt take on the style.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this in another trade with stoutfiend27. Kept it at cellar temp and popped it into the fridge for about 15 mins before I cracked it and poured it into my snifter.

A: Pours a deep brown bordering on black, but it is lighter around the edges. A dark creamy half cm of head bubbles up after the pour and evaporates almost immediately. Lacing is nowhere to be found.

S: Nothing that really jumps out at me, but there are definitely aromas of coffee, roast, and some some fruit that comes in later once the beer approaches about 60 degrees.

T: The flavor starts off with a big and delicious roastiness that really makes a big impression on my pallet. This is followed by a molasses and caramel quality that gives way to dark fruits that are somewhat understated.

M/D: No surprise that this is a bit thinner than some other Russian Imperials, at least to me, based on the color in the pour and in my glass. The carbonation is nearly non-existant, as it should be. This is a beer that I could drink like I drink my Bell's Java Stout - as an everyday, just got home from work beer.

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Foothills 10 oz glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, with one finger of off-white head that subsides fairly quickly. Decent bit of lacing was leftover.

Smell: Roasted malts, licorice, a very strong dark chocolate presence in the background. Other dark fruits are noticeable...maybe plums?

Taste: Roasted malts and coffee flavors are present up front, backed by the dark chocolate. Slightly sweeter than I would have expected. I can't tell if I like the sweetness or adds an interesting dimension, to say the least, but does become a bit cloying as the beer warms. Alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, and creamy, but disappointingly thin - much too thin for an Imperial Stout. Despite this, it still manages to pull off a decent creaminess. The thinness of the mouthfeel provides an interesting tension with the sweetness - the sweetness makes it harder to drink quickly but it's so thin each sip is a mouthful.

Drinkability: Not bad. If it weren't for the 8.4 percent ABV, I'd say this was more a regular stout than an Imperial. It's very thin, which does make it easy to put down a couple - dangerously easy. Not sure if this is what I would go for when I'm craving an Imperial Stout, but it's not bad.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter...

A: Pours a dark black chocolate with a small one finger head that falls quickly and dissipates to a thin foam and ring around the glass.

S: Smells heavily of chocolate malt and licorice with hints of caramel and light biscuit. Pretty good.

T: Big chocolate and caramel malt profile, hints of espresso and licorice and fairly bitter for a stout especially at 8.4%. Slightly metallic in the finish. Good but not great.

M: A little bit light for a stout, medium body and a little metallic and dry on the finish.

D: Very drinkable for a stout but the metallic feel detracts a bit from the overall feel and flavor a bit. Good to try but many others out there that I would buy over this.

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Photo of mntlover
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black some brown around edges when held up to light smaller brownish head falls to ring with some lace.

Aroma is roasted malts, some caramel, light liquorice, hints of chocolate sweet variety. Some hints of fruits under neath along with touches of peat. Overall pretty good just not as full or in our face as most bigger stouts.

Taste is like aroma actually little bigger then the aroma nice roasted malts, caramel notes even toffee hints. Good supply of liquorice notes lead into fruit and the earthy peat i was getting from the nose. Hops in finish are minty herbal and earthy that add a decent does of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is big medium not quite hitting full per say but smooth and goes down easy nice mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is hell its not bad, drinkable enough but would i go out and buy more if i was in mood for a RIS, nah kind of doubt it unless I could get it on tap at brewery. Defiantly worth a try might not be world class but it's not bad either.

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Photo of mechamifune
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this back from his travels!

Code of 048008 on bottle:

Pours jet black with a thin tan head that comes and goes with a swirl of the glass. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of licorice/anise, with chocolate/coffee dark maltiness. It has earthy and roasty notes.

The taste is of coffee and chickory with an ashy roastiness. It has some dark fruits (plum/raisin) with a touch of booze. It has an earthy, spicy bitterness in the finish.

It is close enough to full-bodied to put it there, though not thick or syrupy/sticky.

This is an earthier/roasty interpretation that is quite drinkable for the alcohol presence.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Newly bottled from Natty Greene's as part of their "Big Draft" series!

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Jet black, opaque, with a small brown head. Retention is fairly short considering the ABV, no lacing.

S - Big notes of butter and caramel. Dark fruit, specifically plums, come to mind with a smidge of chocolate and coffee aromas. Some alcohol is evident as well.

T - Early palate is full of the rich butteriness from the nose with an accompanying moderate sweetness. Bitter chocolate makes a cameo before things start drying out mid palate. Some bitter, slightly burnt coffee grounds mixed with a somewhat assertive alcohol presence wrap up the taste, washing away all of the earlier flavors. Burnt coffee and booze linger in the aftertaste.

M - Black Powder starts off on the light side of full bodied with an oily chewiness. Unfortunately the body thins out towards the swallow. Carbonation is very soft and nearly nonexistant.

D - I'm not a huge fan of imperial stouts in general but I found this one quite smooth and drinkable. For fans of the style it's probably a bit too tuned down, but that's also probably why I'm diggin' on it more than others of the style.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Natty's last week while lunching for $12.50/4pk.

Pours an oily black with a thin, tan head that dissipates very quickly into a lean ring of bubbles around the perimeter. I find the smell to be surprisingly low-key; there are hints of dark chocolate, coffee, and ripe dark fruit, but it takes an incredible amount of discernment to find them. The flavor, however, isn't hiding anything: a bit of diacetyl on the front edge, with sweet, fruity tones quickly taking over. Coffee notes abound, with hints of dark, bittersweet chocolate lurking in the background. The finish is more bitter than I expected, but it's a pleasing balance. A dry finish allows the coffee flavors to linger quite some time. It's a bit lean for the style, but that adds to the "drinkability."

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Photo of wchasse222
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of eberkman
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Natty Greene's brewpub in G-boro, NC.

Poured a thick, opaque black with a foamy, mocha-colored head that dissipated fairly quickly, but left lots of nice lacing on the glass. Aromas of bittersweet chocolate and strong, dark-roasted coffee with some alcohol surfacing as well. Tasted a lot like the smell -- strong, dark coffee and bittersweet chocolates, but with some added brown-sugar or molasses sweetness and a tremendous alcohol warmth chasing it all down. The mouthfeel was a little more thin and watery than I expected, but not bad overall. Pretty drinkable for such a strong beer, though it hits you when you stand up. Probably not the best session beer, but a very enjoyable brew to relax with on a chilly evening.

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Photo of FloppyDog
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. It is a beautiful opaque black with a small, fast-dissipating, off-white head. I can already tell that it is slightly thicker than a standard-gravity stout.

The aroma is less than I was expecting. I get a bit of chocolate and coffee, but not quite as pronounced as I would like.

The taste, however, is very complex. The chocolate and burnt malt flavors really come through in the taste, with a expertly masked alcohol presence until after the finish where I get a slight alcohol burn/warming in the back of my throat. The taste makes me feel that perhaps I have had a few too many beers before this to be able to distinguish the complexities of the aroma properly.

The mouthfeel is thick, coating the tongue for a few seconds and then disappearing as to not be too overpowering. Overall, an interesting Imperial Stout that I wish had more of a prominent aroma to go along with the nice flavor profile.

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Photo of Whsrickqb12
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of mralphabet
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Black, a little creamy head, little lacing. There is a lot of creamy yeast floating around.

S: Big black licorice, coffee, hints of caramel and chocolate... pretty normal for a Imperial Stout.

T: First blast of creamy caramel, butter and bitter chocolate....The bitter chocolate turns to a burnt coffee with a hint of assertive alcohol.... Love the start, but do not care for the finish, but is does have normal Imperial Stout stuff here.

M: Full bodied, thick and chewy...Wonderful feel, very little little carbonation... Straight up Imperial Stout....

D: Just like all Imperial Stouts it is not a session beer, sit back and enjoy, even gets better as it warms. Give this one a try very nice stout.

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Photo of tedpeer
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to errbayman for this extra in a trade. 12 ounce poured into a pint.

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a huge sand head that settled to a whispy layer and ring around. A little lacing.

S - Roasty malts and slight sweetness.

T - Roasted malts and coffee flavors. Sweet. Bitter finish w/alcohol warmth.

M - Thin.

D - One and out for me. Many other imperials I like more.

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Photo of bigred89
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Black Powder Imperial Stout from Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 38 ratings