Black is Beautiful

Brewery: Southern Heights Brewing Co
Style:   Spice Herb Vegetable Beer (Imperial Stout base 30A)
Package: 16oz Can
Purchased: Beer to go!
Packaged Date:  July 23, 2020
Consumed Date: September 24, 2020

Details From the Brewer

ABV: 10%

Our version of this Russian Imperial Stout was brewed with 4lbs of Vanilla Beans in the boil for a deep vanilla flavor. We also added 5lbs of organic Dominican Republic cocoa nibs from the good folks @srslychocolate and Organic Maple Syrup to tie it all together beautifully.


Aroma – 10/12

High levels of maple syrup jump out of the glass first.  This is joined by a medium high vanilla aroma with a similar intensity dark chocolate note.  The combination creates a brownie-like character.  More subtle roast and ash notes.  Moderate sweetness with some detectable alcohol.  Lower notes red apple and fig esters.

Appearance – 3/3

Pours a deep black liquid, absorbing any light.  A light brown head forms at two fingers height made up of fine and small bubbles.  Good retention, fading to half a finger and eventually maintaining a ring.

Flavor – 16/20

A medium-high blend of maple, vanilla wash over the tongue.  Cocoa quickly joins with moderate bitterness.  Malt notes of coffee, roast, grainy and caramel.  A moderate sweetness carries with it some dark fruit esters.  These flavors slowly fade to a dry finish, leaving a subtle flavor of adjuncts with slight roast.

Mouthfeel – 4/5

Medium-full bodied at the start of the taste, fading a bit towards the end.  The finish is soft with no astringency.  Moderate carbonation.  Some alcohol warmth in the throat.

Overall Impression – 8/10

The expression of cocoa, maple, and vanilla are really cohesive.  They blend well together, invocative of a desert, without pastry sweetness.  The base stout still comes through, but does take a backseat to the adjuncts.   I’d prefer it to come through a bit more in the balance. The flavors come across as genuine and not like extract.

Rating – 41/50

One of my personal favorite stouts of the series I’ve tried.   The combination of vanilla with cocoa nibs leads to an authentic chocolatey taste that really works well.  I really enjoy the dryness on the finish since adjunct stouts have been trending so much sweeter.