100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout
Very Good
227 Ratings
100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed by Harpoon brewer Katie Tame, using Island Creek oyster farmer Skip Bennett’s revered Duxbury Bay oysters, this beer has a rich body and smooth mouthfeel derived in part from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate rye malts. The roasted malt notes blend beautifully with the briny, mineral flavors of the Island Creek oysters. An addition of hops adds some bitterness to balance the malt sweetness. This, the 30th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, is best enjoyed with a plate full of Island Creek Oysters.

35 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 227 |  Reviews: 181
Photo of travduke
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed the 100BBL offerings for awhile now, so I am excited to try this one out.

Look: Nice black body, tan foam head that quickly dissipates leaving decent lacing.

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts and a mild salty/brine quality.

Taste: Chocolate and a lot of roasty flavors. Nice malts. Where's the Oyster? I get a little of that brine taste but nothing as I was expecting.

Mouth/Drink: Nice mouthfeel but one was enough for me. I was hoping for more here. Too bad.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to ShogoKawada for giving me the chance to sample this one. Bivalves in beer? I was skeptical, but I've learned oyster stouts are actually not terribly uncommon.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Opaque, seal brown body with a small fluffy fawn head which lingers for quite a while before slowly thinning. Lovely, thick, even lacing which slowly unfurls leaving intricate calligraphy behind.

Shoe polish, a touch of butter, light roast coffee, roast malt, light brown sugar, and a faint brine-like quality in the nose - a really nice mix.

The flavors evolve slowly on the palate: whatever bitter/tart flavors there are start things off, slowly fading to a mix of roast malt, chocolate, and a chewy salinity (clearly they used fresh rather than smoked oysters in this brew), which persists on an almost subliminal level on into the finish. The mid-palate is appropriately sweet, with hints of coffee creamer and taffy...the roast grows into the finish which helps attenuate the sugars and mingles well with the sea notes. Subtle, curious, but enjoyable. Maybe a little diacetyl.

Medium bodied, a touch oily, adequate carbonation, no real astringency.

This meets the style guidelines pretty well, and any imperfections are not from the addition of oysters. Though I may have to go to Britain (or at least the East Coast), I hope to try more oyster stouts in the future for comparison.

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Photo of alysmith4
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tried this beer at a new beer spot in DC called Birch and Barley/ Church Key. Wanted to have it, just for the sheer gimmick of it. Had read about it in the Washington Post, and was excited to try it less than a week later. A beer brewed with oysters? I was intrigued.

It was a nice tasting stout, with no traces of oyster what-so-ever. Which I was kind of happy about, I wasn't looking forward to a mollusk-y tasting beer. Actually, it was a lot like Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout. Very good, I would have it again.

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Photo of bum732
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, nice creamy slightly tan head. Smells of roasted coffee, some chocolate, touch of brininess, touch of vanilla, mellow citrus aroma. Tastes of sweet coffee like malt with an interesting briny mineralness. Some slightly fruity bitterness marks an appearence giving way to roasty dryness and touch of herbal hoppiness. Moderate to thin mouthfeel, carbonation is ok.

Interesting beer, i like the subtle components the oysters bring, touch of brininess, almost like peated scotch from the islays. My only problem with this is the mouthfeel wasn't as creamy as i was expecting, but overall, a very nice stout.

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Photo of champ103
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color. A two finger tan head forms with good retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: Not much in the nose. Light roasted malt and some chocolate. A mineral aroma as well.
T: Sweet malt, and lightly toasted. Slightly bitter chocolate with a bready finish.
M/D: A medium body that is a little thin. Not hard to drink. I am having no problem finishing the bomber.

This is a solid but simple stout, and very enjoyable. Worth a try if you see it.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a dark brown to a black with a brownish tan head and some slight lacing.

The smell is pretty chocolaty with some salty nut flavor and a some pretty interesting smokey flavor. It sure on some of the flavors in the nose but it does not draw me back.

The taste is a bit bitter chocolate some smooth tanginess that is hard to place. There is some salty flavor that brings about images of salted peanuts.

The feel of this beer is pretty light and is not a beer that takes too much off the pallet and really goes down well.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased at McKinnon's in Salem. Pours an opaque black body with nearly an inch of light-tan head that dissipates rather quiclky. Malt, dark chocolate, and a certain quality that reminds me of being at the ocean. Dark chocolate, roast, nut, slight notes of coffee... Kind of an astringency is there, partially from the black malts, and I'm guessing partially from the minerals from the oysters. Medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. Not a bad stout, pretty solid and tasty, though a bit astringent to my taste.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 3/6/10 notes. Had a local DC tasting. Thanks to Justin (Jslot38) for brining it.

a - Poured a dark brown color with little head. Little carbonation evident.

s - Lots of malts here. Smells of roasted malts as well as some burnt and sweet malts. Also smells of chocolate and coffee. No oyster or seafood smell evident.

t - Taste was very similiar to the smell at first. Lots of roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate, with a little bit of sweetness to it. Then there was a nice aftertaste of oysters after all that, that made this a very interesting and enjoyable beer to drink.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, a nice thickness to it.

d - Overall I really enjoyed this beer. Had a great stout smell and taste, but the taste got better and more complex with some oyster aftertaste that was great and not overpowering. I enjoyed this quite a bit and would love to pick up a bottle of this.

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Photo of corby112
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown color with slight mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger light head that slowly settles into a thin lasting ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Nice roasted dark malt aroma with lots of dark chocolate, toffee, roasted coffee bean, lactic creaminess and burnt toast. The salty seafood/oyster presence is there but is masked by the deep roasted chocolate notes.

Medium bodied and extremely roasty with lots of burnt chocolate malt, toast, toffee and roasted coffee. Slightly spicy with hints of peppery zest and subtle hops. Again, there is a slight saltiness from the oysters but they are used to provide balance rather than to dominated the flavor. The ABV is well masked but this beer is intensely roasty, hurting it's drinkability. Interesting but a bit one dimensional.

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Photo of BeanBone
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark brown, nearly black, body capped by over two fingers of tan-tinged, creamy head that leaves patchy lacing.

Aroma: Chocolaty roasted malt accompanied by nary a whiff of seafood.

Flavor: Again, a slightly chocolaty roasty malt body without much complexity. Some mild bitterness keeps things relatively balanced. Try as I might, I can't find anything salty or oyster-like, about all I can find is a few mineral notes. As expected, there's mild roasty malt in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and a little creamy with smooth medium carbonation. Dries a little in the finish.

Drinkability: With light flavor intensity, smooth mouthfeel, moderate alcohol content, this is easily drinkable.

Verdict: I was hoping this would be rich and a little briny, but instead it's a rather bland American Stout. While both of the 100 Barrel Series beers I've tried so far have been a little lackluster, I know these guys can brew interesting beers and I'm optimistic the next will be more special.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch and a half frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. Aroma is roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of a minerally flavor and a little bit of a salty taste (both of which I assume is from the oysters). Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy, a bit slick, well carbonated and has a somewhat dry finish. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and very easy to drink. Too bad this is just a one time release brew. I liked it a lot, and think it would be a decent choice as a session beer, I wouldn't have any problem drinking another bomber or 2 of this.

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Photo of erosier
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a nice dark black color with a medium sized and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of deep roasted and toasted malts, hints of chocolate and coffee aromas, and a hint of hops at the end.
T: Big amounts of roasted malt and some chocolate and coffee flavors most likely from the malt. Not much else, a bit dry on the finish.
M: Smooth, perfect amount of carbonation. Kind of heavy feeling.
D: Pretty drinkable, could be a little lighter bodied if it was to be more drinkable or have more alcohol, but it was pretty good nonetheless.

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Photo of JamesS
4.43/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a great dark brown, near black, with a fantastic tan head and great lacing throughout. Very nice deep scent, slight sweetness with a huge roasted grain aroma (very coffee-like with a slight hint of chocolate). Nice deep roasted grains flavor with a nice sweet kick and slight hop finish; there is a noticable oyster flavor as well, which struck me as a tin-like shellfish flavor, much like you get when you crunch into a semi-solid particle along with the oyster, except that it's all liquid in the beer (no worries, there are no solid floaties). It goes down thick and creamy, quite smooth. This is a very unique beer to try, and should go great with seafood, especially oysters or clams. It's not an every day beer for me, but definitely worth a shot if you want to try a hard to find historic beer style.

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Photo of hoplover82
2.6/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a clear black color with hints of ruby, with a small ivory colored head that has ok retention and little to no lacing.

Smells pretty good with huge roasted barley notes that give it a coffee smell it also has a slight chocolaty note to it with an oceany note in the back. Very pleasant indeed.

Then the flavor... man what a dissapointment! If the oysters werent in there, it would be great. But I guess I just couldn't handle it. And I'm into crazy beers like this too. It has a nice roasted barley characteristic, very nice stout, but when the oysters are in there, it has such a salty harshness to it, imo.

Therefore, it was so harsh and undrinkable to me that it was a drainpour! I couldn't believe it! I even gave it a chance and let it warm up to see if it would become more smooth, but I just couldn't stand it. So I had to redeem myself with a fresh Bigfoot BarleyWine Style Ale. Then I was all better.

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Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from CBX in Charleston, SC.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted and black malts with mild amounts of dark cocoa powder. As the beer warms the aroma sweetens a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Black and roasted malt flavors up front with just a tinge of saltiness (although I may be tasting that only because I read the bottle). Midway through the sip unsweetened cocoa powder sneaks into things. Near the end of the sip very light amounts of raisins pop up before fading before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass withotu a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a solid low ABV stout that wasn't a far cry from a good schwarzbier. I'm not really sure how much the oysters add but either way this is worth a shot.

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Photo of zebco
2.47/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured to a very dark color. A heavy, tan colored head. I'm excited.

Smell: When I took my first quick whiff, I got a very unpleasant smell. I couldn't put my finger on it. The thought gym locker kept crawling in my head. My wife said a fart mixed with cigarette butts. It was just like a briny, pungent smell. Upon taking deeper whiffs, I smelt hints of chocolate and smoke. But I couldn't get over my initial aromas.

Taste & Mouthfeel: I thought it had good flavor. I kept getting smoke flavors. I did drink the whole thing holding my breath due to the smell I was getting.

Drinkability: I'm on the fence here. Part of me wants to try it again to see if I had a fluke. But then again, I probably won't due to the limited series. I don't want to smell that again anytime soon.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a tulip glass. Pours cola dark brown with chocolate highlights and a khaki head.

S - Burnt coffee, bittersweet chocolate. Syrupy smoky resin.

T - Earthy, with a sweet almost tart chocolate flavor. Little bit of smokiness in there too.

M - Velvety, smooth.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle with tin foil covering poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass in two parts.

Appearance: Dark brown to black coloring. Deep ruby edges and a one figner, tan head with almost no retention. Head recedes quickly into nothing.

Aroma: Deep char and espresso are the first notes to hit in the nose. Not much in the way of sweetness. Some earthy tones emerge somewhat but don't really offer any counter to the char.

Taste: Much like the aroma, the deep burnt char flavor is the first thing to hit. There is also espresso, but these really don't balance wach other, just offer more bitter notes. There is a missing element of sweetness that could add some much needed dimension and cut the one flavor that dominates. Clean, slighty bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but a little chewy. Not much in the way of carbonation. Feels heavier than it is.

Drinkability: Low ABV and medium flavors make for decent drinkability. Some balance and a lighter mouthfeel would make this much more sessionable.

Overall, a decent stout tha I found one dimensional. Too much char and bitterness led to no balance and a beer that desperately needed some sweetness. The char flavor profile wa snice , but it was too much and needed something to balance it.

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Photo of caminiti
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured black, very light head, minimal lacing as it went down rather easily in a stolen pint glass. Carbonated a bit heavily for the style, not much nose (tiny bit of chocolate, and perhaps oyster, though I would have never identified it if I didnt know it was there). Light on the alcohol, which is completely masked, easy to drink and worth a try, relatively inexpensive as well.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A correct stout, and a very shy attempt at something different.

Presentation: 22 oz brown bottle. Simple front label design with a loose attempt at a limited release image with signatures of the brewers. Includes a small paragraph noting the name of the ale. Lacks any bottling or best by date other than a "session 30" tag. Notes IBUs (35), OG (15), and Alc. by Vol. (5.5%) Served into a snifter.

A - Deep brown pour with a nice head, medium to low retention, little to no lacing, and a reliable surface memory.

S - Roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. Maybe the faintest of salty, mineral notes and also a maybe as self-suggestion for a nano-second of a note of sea-food. Nah, it´s gone...

T - Reliable stout profile with roasted notes, coffee, a bit of chocolate, and again, maybe, just maybe a salty, mineral note in the background. Barely there.

M - Medium body with fair carbonation and a smooth finish.

D - Blah, blah, blah, works well as a stout, a quality one but in the middle of the pack with plenty better ahead of it. Nothing much exciting to making it remarkable.

Notes: As a light stout it gets good pass marks, nothing extraordinary but decent... As a limited batch it really does not cut it for me. At best this is death by subtlety, at worst it is a bland marketing ploy that falls well short of anything memorable other than the hype surrounding it. Luckily the stout remains good and drinkable, but I´d much rather have them do an actually stimulating brew for this 100 barrel series than something not worth the memory.

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Photo of browncrayon
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Let me preface this by saying I've never had oysters in my life. I really enjoy seafood and shellfish, but I avoid oysters simply because of the texture. Even still, I'm a little freaked out by this beer. But you have to try everything once, right?

A: The beer pours a pitch black--I'm having a hard time getting any light to come through at all. The head is tan and tall.

S: I'm scared to take a first whiff, but I don't smell any hint of oysters or sea-life at all. Definite sweet, burnt, and chocolaty smells, MAYBE some brine coming through at the end the more I smell it, but I don't think I'd be able to pick it out if I didn't already know there were oysters in it.

T: Okay...I'm diving in. It tastes toasty! Dark, burnt malt flavors with dark chocolate tastes coming through in the front, and then the brine totally hits you on the finish. You don't notice it until the end when you feel a bit like you're breathing ocean air. I'm surprised by how well those transition into each other--it's really not too off-putting. A bit bitter and lingering, but overall not bad.

M: It's pretty carbonated, medium-bodied, and fairly dry.

D: This is where it gets bad--I've hit a wall here. I think it's fair to say that there's a big psychological factor to this beer, and it may have gotten to me. I genuinely found the taste to be pleasant, but I can't even finish my glass and admittedly feel a little bit ill. Don't underestimate your mind's power over your mouth and stomach for this one!

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Photo of Jwale73
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served in my Sam Smith Nonic. Poured two shades shy of black and semi-translucent with deep red highlights around the base when backlit. Head was two inches, creamy and tan-colored. Head eventually settles into a solid skim of a cap, revealing concentric half-moon bands of lacing as the brew recedes. Nose is malty and reveals lactose, a hint of cocoa and the merest suggestion of brine. Taste follows nose with the addition of a roasted quality. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a level background carbonation and a fairly dry finish. A solid offering, but falls somewhere between an oyster and a milk stout (is there a difference?). Nonetheless, pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of beingwatched
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I thought it fitting that this be the first beer I actually review here, considering how mortally terrified I actually was to try it.

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. It was very, very black with a quickly dissipating head and a nice light caramel lacing. The scent was not that powerful - chocolatey and toasty with a hint of sweetness.

On first sip, I was surprised how burnt and slightly bitter the taste was. Not as sweet as the scent predicted. It was pretty malty - I got chocolate, espresso, and smoky notes. Although it was pretty dry, the burnt flavor lingers. As for the oysters: I definitely noticed a subtle briney/shellfish taste, though not an unpleasant one. There are subtle hints of saltwater and minerals, and I can see how this would pair well with oysters, clams, or mussels.

The mouthfeel was medium - fairly round. Light, fizzy carbonation.

The drinkability for me was not great, though surprisingly more better than I expected for a beer brewed with oysters. Like others have said, I'm not sure I would have detected the oyster flavors if I wasn't expecting them, but as it warmed a bit they began to taste more apparent and may have psychologically gotten to me. I'd likely pass on this again. On that note, I might recommend it to anyone interested in seeing what an oyster stout is like. After all, I was scared... but I'm alive to to talk about it!

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Photo of rpstevens
3.22/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours a dark brown, almost black with hazy edges. There is a frothy off-white head that quickly fades to a tight ring, leaving bubbly lacing that doesn't have much lasting power.

The smell is a chocolate, roasted malts and a salted nut characteristic first and foremost. The nuttiness ushers in a mineral salty character and a briny salt. Not to be exaggerated, the salt characteristics are quick, and they balance the sweet chocolate and malt characters nicely in the nose.

The flavor does not live up to the nose on this one. The sweet chocolate, slightly roasty malt and brine characteristics are all equally present but they are boring compared to the smell of the beer. Each flavor is not intense enough, and none of them last more than a split second. There is also an empty void in the mid-palate that just seems to lack a flavor.

This is a light to medium bodied stout that is well carbonated for the style. The alcohol is never present and the finish is nice and dry. The nose and mouthfeel on this beer are good, but the flavor really makes the drinkability suffer. It's not a bad tasting beer, but there is nothing about the flavor profile that makes me excited to drink more.

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Photo of Perkyanda
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This stuff is black. Not dark brown, black. Ok.. the edges show a bit of caramel color where the light has a chance to get through, but for the most part this thing is dark and dangerous looking. There's very little head-- a few big creamy bubbles and some smaller froth.

It smells malty and smoky, and the scent is light. not a lot else going on, really. The taste is... really good, actually. Really different. Smoky as hell, a bit of a just-smoked-a-cigar aftertaste lingers, but in a good way. There's a bit of a mouthwatering saltiness to it, but very mild, and nothing is bitter about this beer at all. It tastes just like a nice, smoky stout. A little unusual, but nothing extremely unique in the flavor, except the smoky, briney aftertaste... or maybe I'm jsut tricking myself on the brine flavor, thinking it's there due to the label.

Mouthfeel is good. Low carbonation but nice tingle, nice full mouth taste. Not really silky or rich, but pleasant.

At 5.5 ABV, this tastes like a sipper, but will keep you sober... possibly more sober than you'd like, if your friends are drinking something higher. I like it a lot, and I would definitely pick this for a party when I don't want to get too sleepy, too early. It's a little pricier than I feel the taste and ABV deserve, but it is a novelty, and definitely worth trying one. I'd love to try some on tap.

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100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 227 ratings