Ballast Point’s imperial stout isn’t too heavy despite its full body. The hops in this one are mild in comparison to the other flavors present, which makes it great for those who prefer double/imperial brews that don’t come on too strong.

This stout pours with a thick viscosity and a soft, tan head that retains well. The color is a deep, dark and opaque brown, almost black, like a strong drip from your favorite third wave coffee spot. Take a sniff and you will catch chocolate, caramel and hints of vanilla, plum and mocha. The bitterness accentuates the coffee flavor and doesn’t overpower the malty backbone. This stout is especially creamy, with a strong alcohol content, which is noticeable but easily disregarded by its smooth drinkability. Expect a silky mouth feel, which is especially nice if you’re feeling adventurous enough to make a stout float. I would recommend pairing it with a piece of flourless chocolate cake or just plain dark chocolate. It could also go well with desserts that have subtle vanilla flavoring like crepes with whipped cream, along with Nutella, blackberries, raspberries. As far as meats go: the redder the meat the better to bring out the flavor of the hops!

Ballast Point makes great beer and this is no exception to their dedication to quality. For an imperial stout, it could have a little more character though regardless I would give this one a 4/5.