Review: Black Heart Imperial Stout, Southern Oregon Brewing

Black Heart
Southern Oregon Brewing Co. — Medford, OR

  • Style:  Imperial Stout
  • Bitterness:  40 IBU
  • ABV:  8.5%
  • Malts:  Rahr 2-Row, Cascade Special "B", Black, Flaked Oats, Crystal 77, Briess Carapils, Weyermann Dark Wheat
  • Hops:  U.K. Kent, Warrior
  • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle 

Description: "Black Heart Imperial Stout is startlingly rich and complex as its roasted, chocolaty malt aromas and flavors are balanced perfectly with Warrior hops. A slight alcohol heat lends a spice to this mammoth beer which finishes with a creamy smooth texture on the palate.  Black Heart is full of body and not for the faint of heart." — Southern Oregon Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  SOB is starting 2012 with the first time release of Black Heart Imperial Stout. I'm a big fan of Imperial Stouts and have been looking forward to tasting this ever since I heard about it in late December. I was very surprised to see Black Heart at the same price point as SOB's other beers ($3.79 at my local Fred Meyer). I expected a higher price because Imperial Stouts, with their hefty grain bills, are not cheap to brew.

The tasting:  Black in color with a frothy, dark tan head that dissipated very slowly. When held up to the light, it was pitch black. Aroma of roasted malt, espresso, and a hint of alcohol. Flavor similar to aroma with the addition of chocolate and a hint of licorice. It has a nice light malt sweetness and the alcohol makes its presence known in the middle. Although not well-hidden, it's what I'd expect of the style. The hops are not noticeable in aroma of flavor. Black Heart is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and finishes with roasted malt, licorice, and the sensation of warming alcohol.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  Normally, I don't consider price in my reviews, but at around $4 for a bomber, this is an absolute steal! Black Heart isn't complex with many layers, but it has the rich flavors I've come to expect of the style. At 8.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, its specs fall toward the lower end of style guidelines for Imperial Stouts. If you've never tried the style and are curious, this is a great beer to taste. I might try cellaring a bottle or two and see what happens in a year or so. At this price, you can't go wrong...

Have you tried Black Heart Imperial Stout?

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  1. I had it on tap at Horsebrass Pub in Portland Oregon. The bartender highly recommended it. I do too.

  2. If it is on tap at the Brass tonight, I'll give it a go!

  3. i'll take 3 rounds please :) however, Warrior is the correct spelling - not "Warrier"... have yr web guy contact me through smoke signals xo

    1. How did I miss that?!? Thanks for letting me know.

  4. Had a pint at The Laughing Clam in Grants Pass last night. Really good!

  5. This is a great Imp Stout. I got to try it on tap at SOB's tasting room this summer.


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