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Judge's Review: 95 Rating - Epitaph by Heathen Brewing

February, 2018
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
5 / 6
39 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Epitaph by Heathen Brewing is a Russian Imperial Stout and is being evaluated as an Imperial Stout (2015 BJCP Category 20C) according to BJCP guidelines. For this style expect bold, roast malt, sometimes lightly burnt and definitely with dark fruits and varying sweetness from bittersweet to sweet. A pleasant warmth ensues but the alcohol should not be harsh.

Pours opaque black with a medium, creamy and thick brown head, medium retention with some lacing. Aroma of sweet and rich dark chocolate, lactose sweetness, dates and figs. Light background earthy and woody hop notes round out the initial aroma. Chewy sweet and dark chocolate malt, roast notes, dark fruits similar to the aroma lead to a sweet finish. The balance is clearly to the malt. Full body, medium carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

A warm nuttiness emerges late in the aroma as does powdered cocoa. A light malt bitterness complements the hop bitterness, but the malt and lactose sweetness keep both in check. Some warm alcohol character gives the palate a hint of dryness and keeps this from being too sweet. Bold and rich with a velvety texture, enjoy this beer with a rich cheesecake topped with slightly sweetened strawberries.