Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 1066   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.2/5   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 85   EST. CALORIES: 288   ABV: 9.6%
This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tastier. 85 IBUs. Labels:

’07 = Grim Reaper
’08 = Devil
’09 = Mummy
’10 = Vampire
’11 = Zombie
’12 = Werewolf
’13 = Hell Demon
’14 = Harpy (bottled reviews have separate entry in database)
’15 = Bat
’16 = Cerberus
’17 = Baba Yaga - Forest Witch

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hellomynameis (877) - Mayer, Minnesota, USA - NOV 26, 2006
An unexpected treat at McKenzie’s bar before a concert...it came in an odd tulip glass coloured black as night. There was a thick topping of brown filling the top. This really reminded me of a 2 year old Expedition stout I once had. The aroma was filled with chocolate and a hint of burbon. In fact, the head on this had the same soapy effect that the burbon dark lord had. Thick and creamy perfect 5 mouthfeeel. The flavour is great, filled with hints of cherries, lots of chocolate, some caramel, and an interestng black licorice appearance. This is a very luscious and drinkable big stout.

joebrew (608) - Farewell Minny; Hello Puyallup, Washington, USA - NOV 24, 2006
UPDATED: JUN 25, 2007 Wow what a great beer. This impy pours jet black, the way an impy should. The aroma is that of bourbon, chocolate, dried raisens, and a hint of vanilla. The flavor is fantastic with that thick port like profile of dried raisens chocolate, vanilla, a hint of caramel and an explosion of fig prune and toffee followed by an unbelievable hop profile. This is a great balance between hops and malt. The palate lingers for forever, mostly due to the hops, but the cocoa and toffe/caramel stick as well. This is a great brew, and it is even better because it is local. All of you outside the Twin Cities I pity for not having the opputrunity to purchase this brew

Stine (1799) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - NOV 20, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 25, 2012 Snifter at Barley John’s. A thick, opaque, black brew topped with a decadent chocolate mousse head, wafting the most intoxicating aromas of red apple, cranberry, bourbon, chocolate covered cherries, and pine. Inhaling it is almost dessert enough for me, until that first sip coats my throat with more bourbon, some maple, irish cream, and a juicy rack of lamb, finishing with a quiet rush of bitterness, like the fog of night tucking me in to sleep. This is certainly a monster of a beer, but it is by far one of the most graceful imperial stouts i’ve had.

Brewso (238) - Mt Kisco, New York, USA - NOV 6, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 29, 2006 on tap acadia cafe. beautiful billowy cocoa head atop onyx tinted liquid. aroma is of sweet, candied fruit and chocolate covered orange rind. explosive hop taste is perfectly integrated into a fantastic dark chocalate malt with just enough thickness. the hops on this are perfect (simcoe?). better than storm king, better than both yetis, better than expedition? i’m not willing to say that based on one glass- but the question must be asked. the hop profile is like the dreadnaught and the malt profile is somewhere between kzoo and expedition. OMAR: THIS MUST BE CANNED IT IS ABSOLUTE GENIUS.
RE-RATE 12-06 Had lunch and dinner at cafe 28 in order to enjoy this rare treat before it ran out. I bumped it up a notch for being everything I love in a stout- thick, rich, complex dark chocolate anc coffee with ample sweet and fragrant hop. For a huge beer it is endlessly drinkable and not too heavy. My favorite stout and possibly my favorite beer.

Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - OCT 31, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2006 My Darkness sits in a Duvel tulip glass, the roasty brown espresso-tinged head filling the top, and the actual beer as black as the darkest night, saturated with sin. Tannish lace stays long on the glass. This bleak cast may scare away the timid, those less ready to tango with the Stygian side, but the nose entices me in, and am undaunted as I step into the dark.

A blast of coffee hits first, married with copious cocoa, bitter and sweet stand side by side, neither in dominance. Hints of dark rum, molasses, black pepper and anise are mixed in this aroma of this heady brew, and it only gets richer the more you drink it in the nose. Sweeter elements eventually take charge, but it’s still a deep, almost spicy blend.

To taste: Massive mouthfeel, thick, gooey, and absolutely delicious. Choclate is in full force, but matche once more with earthier aspects, the coffee, the spice, the slick black strap. Incredibly pervasive on the palate, this stout commands every inch of the senses, sending tasty tendrils up in each crack in the cavern of the mouth. Plenty of hops at play (80 IBUs), bobbing just below the malt.

Sip, gulp, swallow, and the parade of flavors begins again, dancing along the tongue, like some malific ballet. Dark fruit sensations rise up and leave the mind searching for the connection. Dark cherries, berries, rapberry? ....but completely covered in a shell of chocolate. The lip smacks, the tongue scrapes up remnants of this rich elixir, not to miss a drop of deliciousness.

To state "full-bodied" would be an act of redundancy. This is huge, long, and out of the ordinary. Ends smooth and dryly, a pleasing finish, still loaded with flavor, never dying away completely.

Puts many a RIS to shame, though I’d love to sit down and do a comparison among others. To the great credit of Darkness, the alcohol content does not really stick out until nearing glasses end, and the less attractive aspect is that the beautiful dark, rich flavor leaves you craving more, ...although you probably shouldn’t. (It’s 9.5%, give or take.)

I entered the heart of Darkness, and peered into the abyss...found it satisfactory to my soul, and I believe I will take this midnight ride again and again...in moderation...

and to think, there is a bourbon barrel version on it’s way...oh, sweet mercy!

beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - OCT 29, 2006
Dark pruney brown. Thickly puffed and creamy milk chocolate browned topping that stays for a good stint. After a time, a sandy skim is remaining with a firm collaring and thinnly placed sheets of lace coats the glass with immense sticking power.

Aroma is a lofty yet mild with an array of sweet dark fruity skins and juices of plum, pineapple, banana, and fig, all mixing with a dollup of chocolate cake and frosting. Ethanolic heat gets in the way as it sits and becomes the everstanding presense after a while.

Taste is a brigade of sweet, dark flavors; at first, as this Imp. Stout changes its way some as it goes. But this has a tropical, yet dark, sweet front side that has a good slice of dullish pineapple, some slimming banana, dried plums and figs, and a scant of spicey molasses. Then chocolate comes in and covers it all up with one creamy cake filling smoothness and slight bitterness. The palate is soothed over with a delightful stand of bold chocolate tone in a fluff of dark cocoa bitterness. Slight hints to the spice and fruits lingering in the corners. A mighty nice taster of a stout. The front part starts bright and tropical, but fades as it warms. This was served pretty darned chilly for an Impy, but patience pays off by letting it sit about 10, 15 minutes.

Feel is smoothly silken and thickly set in a grand tone of wonderfully delightful chocolate malt and brief, slippery Doppelbock dark fruityness. Firm and strong with only a slight hint to higher ABV type warmth that’s not really evident in any fashion other then the aroma. It reminded my of a chocolate silk pie. Kinda fluffy with that certain texture thats melting and coating. Quite nice. The finish is lengthy in chocolate tone and blended well in dark set bitterness.

Surly have done themselves well with this treat. A true winter sipper that can be enjoyed fully and with more in mind once the glass has emptied.
Beware: Darkness has set across the Land of Minnesota Beerdom. Close the door and lock it behind you. Its time for drinkin’ some Darkness!

muzzlehatch (4969) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 25, 2006
UPDATED: OCT 28, 2006 Sampled draught at the Autumn Brew Review in Minneapolis, October 7 2006. Thick, lasting dark caramel foam leaves chunky lacing atop the completely opaque (even in the bright sun outdoors) body....the nose is certainly one of the hoppiest and most pungent of fragrances that I’ve experienced in an IS, loads of wet, citric and resinous PNW hops that really dominate for a spell, though touches of bitter chocolate and anise and perhaps faint brown sugar swirls eventually show up to remind you that yes, this is a stout, whew....and amazingly, the palate is even more impressive, gorgeous silky-smooth cascades of, well perhaps Cascades, citric acids melding lovingly with intense cocoa and rustic molasses, touches of tarragon and peppers, rich and just a bit yeasty with a lovely, lasting and lingering finishing burning....easily the star of the show and the best new Imperial stout I’ve had in close to two years. Reminiscent of McNeills and other very hoppy examples though more drinkable and silky than most. Awesome.

undsioux7 (872) - Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA - OCT 8, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2011 Pours void of any light with a nice light brown head. A veritable mix of roasted malts and hops. Cherry (the only thing I don’t care for but a persoal taste issue) hint of sweet candy and bourbon chocolate and coffee. Smooth as all get out. A wonderful beer.
Re-rate: 2007 Release at cafe twenty eight. perfection.
Re-rate: 2008 bottle and it was even better. The hops are so bright. MMM
Re-rate: 2009. Forget what I said about last years, this is the best by far. It’s a freaking pinetree molasses party in my mouth. The hops are soo much more prevalent then last year. Booyah!!!
Re-rate: 2010 Not nearly as good as other years. It feels thinner and less of everything that makes it great. Its still good, but not outstanding.
Re-rate: 2011 My first year of Darkness Day without grimreeeser (RIP GRIM) This was better then last year, but didn’t quite hit the mark from the previous years before that. Everything was there but that fresh greenness that I loved.

grimreeser (797) - Minnesota, USA - OCT 7, 2006
UPDATED: OCT 26, 2008 Fresh 08 bottle on the evening of Darkness Day. Pours black with a beautiful large dark tan head. Huge hop aroma, roasted malt, and chocolate. Big and sweet with a nice bitterness to finish. Spectacular fresh.

footbalm (1219) - Western Minneapolis Suburbs, Minnesota, USA - OCT 7, 2006
Wow,this thing was the star of the show. Complex as any Impy I have had in a long time. Molasses,licorice and sorry JK.. lots of hops.This aroma was frigging nuts. Deep dark with a rich tan foamy head. A super new brew on the Mpls beer scene.

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