Marshall’s Black Dolphin Imperial Stout… 4/5

So this is the final review out of four beers I had while out drinking with my buddy at The Fur Shop (see review of bar here) in downtown Tulsa.  Marshall Brewing Company‘s Black Dolphin Stout is one I have had several times while at The Fur Shop and is from a local Tulsa brewery.

From the Brewery? Nope…

Marshall Black Dolphin StoutThere isn’t any information on the Black Dolphin Stout on Marshall’s website (at least not when I started this review).  I was able to find one page (here) talking about a kickoff event for it back in Feb. 2015. Nothing actually said about the beer.  It would be nice to have some info because you can still buy the beer locally, even if it was a seasonal offering (brewed at least 2 seasons).  I hope past offerings will eventually be listed under their beers section.  I have collected the following information from around the web.

Tulsa World Beer Blog post describes as:

“Black Dolphin is a Russian imperial stout that has been aged for about four months in whiskey barrels. At 9 percent alcohol by volume, it is definitely a stout beer. With a rich, roasted flavor and great malty taste, Black Dolphin is a great beer selection for this time of year.”


“Whiskey barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout. Named for the world most severe maximum security prison in Russia.”

ABV: 8.3-9%


First off served in a shaker glass, with a nutty brown head that did dissipate.  A dark/stout/black-brown in color beer with plenty of malt smell. The barrel aging added some unique flavors to the drink and really brings a nice extra taste to the beer.  There is that hint of a kick that you get from taking a shot of whiskey when you look for it. To me the flavors that come out the most are of the dark roasted malts, chocolates and vanilla.  I did not get much of a hop feel from the beer.

Although the head disappeared the carbonation stayed with the beer throughout the drinking. Giving it a good rich/creamy mouth feel at the start of the drink.  Not as rich and creamy as a regular stout throughout because the Imperial comes through with the higher ABV and dryer finish to the drink.


The higher ABV did give it a bit of a kick.  Not a beer I would have more than 2 of in a short period of time.  Luckily it was the last beer of the night at The Fur Shop.  I have had this beer more than once and like it for an Imperial Stout.  I would love to have a taste test of a beer barrel aged and not barrel aged side by side sometime. I will have to start watching the local breweries to see if this options appears on their schedule. I rated this beer a 4 out of 5.  It appeals to my tastes.

So sit back, relax and have ABigBeer.

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Black Mesa’ Los Naranjos… Coffee Stout 4/5

Recently I went to “The City”, Oklahoma City, and grabbed a couple of beers at Rock & Brews (click to see review). While there I had Black Mesa’ seasonal coffee stout, Los Naranjos.  Read on…

From the Brewer & Roaster

Coffee Stout
Los Naranjos


Los Naranjos is our 3rd and current collaboration with Oklahoma City’s beloved Elemental Coffee Roasters.  The stout is brewed with de-bittered black malts that do not compete with the Columbian Naranjos coffee bean known for its silky body, big tangerine acidity, and cocoa finish. Available on draft in November and in bottles in December 2015.

Elemental’s Sheer Roast


There is good complexity and there is bad complexity, algebra equations being the bad kind. Sheer is the good kind, promising transparency through the complexity.

  • Location: Uganda, Sipi Falls
  • Elevation: 1500-2500 m
  • Processing: Fully Washed


Pulling from Untappd the ABV of this beer is 8%.  I don’t have an IBU number for this beer, it was not bitter to me.  At least not to a devout coffee lover who likes his hot, black, and bitter (or Irish).  The head was a light mocha color that dissipated quickly.  It was not highly carbonated and barely noticed it through the drink.  The nose was of a malty sweet smell and I did not pick up any hop smell. Initial taste was of a chocolate and coffee flavor with a fairly rich and smooth mouth feel.  There were some subtle notes of black malt or roasted barley in the background.  I have had richer mouth feeling beers but not many.

Overall I really like this beer and would drink again when in the mood and available.


I gave the beer a 4 out of 5 rating when I was drinking it. I would have probably given it higher if I had actually ordered it to begin with (see Rock & Brews review).  I really liked the smooth taste and full body of the beer.  Too bad it is just a seasonal beer and will soon be gone.  Another winner for a Oklahoma Based Brewery.  I really need to get by the brewery and tour.  Not only that I need a pound of Elemental’s coffee to drink in the mornings.

So remember to relax, no-worries, and have ABigBeer.

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Virginia is for Chocolate?

So, anyone who has ever traveled up or down the east coast has made it through Virginia at least once or twice in their lifetimes and most people have seen the God-awful State slogan “Virginia is for lovers.” While Virginians may not have a knack for State slogans, I can attest that they make one of the best coffee milk stouts I have ever tasted. AleWerks Brewing Company, in Williamsburg, Virginia, makes this rich, smooth, chocolatey wonder called the Cafe Royale (ABV 8.0%).

I discovered the Cafe Royale while on a recent Christmas-time vacation to Colonial Williamsburg. You know the kind of trip I am talking about, right? The kind of trip that sounded good on paper but, after 15+ hours in a minivan with your in-laws, soon requires multiple strong drinks. One highlight of this particular trip was a “Wine versus Beer” tasting event, which served multiple small food samples and asked if the food tasted better paired with the selected wine or the selected beer. The Cafe Royale was served with the dessert course and it was the overwhelming crowd favorite.

From the Brewer
Image source:

“We age a stronger version of our CoffeeHouse Stout in Virginia Gentlemen Bourbon Barrels for 3 months. This aging adds layers of complexity including notes of vanilla and Bourbon to this big coffee beer. 8% ABV”

Barrel-aged Imperial Coffee Milk Stout

My Tasting

This beer was served only slightly cold and had very sturdy, creamy foam. As shown in the picture from the AleWerks website, the color if very deep, dark brown and, although described as a coffee milk stout, was much more chocolatey and slightly sweeter than I expected. The aftertaste really brings the chocolatey, coffee-ness of the beer right into the back of your nose.

My best recommendation for food to have with this beer would definitely be dessert. I think it would pair well with chocolate anything, but would also pair nicely with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, or custard-based desserts (a good tiramisu or creme brulee, comes to mind).


As I am writing this post in mid-April, and had this beer in late-December, I can easily say this beer leaves a lasting impression. The flavor of this beer leaves a lingering taste in your mouth for long after the glass is empty, but leaves an even greater craving to have another one tomorrow.

The most unfortunate part of this tale is that the beer is only available in and around Williamsburg, Virginia; so, I will have to wait until the next time. Civil War road trip, anyone?!

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Yeti & Iron Monk battle…

So I went out with some buds to have a few beers a while back.  Went to the best Beer Bar in OK, McNellie’s South City.  See my post/review of McNellie’s posted earlier.  Also see my review of the Belhaven Black Scottish Stout I had that night.  When I got there it Stout Night was in play.

Dark and Roasty Drafts
Dark Beers on Draft at McNellies, 3/2016

I sent a picture of the On Draft Dark and Roasty beers to my buddy Bill who lives in the Burgh.  Asked him his thoughts on what to drink.  His first reply was the Yeti then Narwal, and Lagunitas.  So I went with the Yeti Imperial Stout and was not disappointed.  I figured I would circle back around to either the Narwal or one of the Lagunitas but that was not to happen… I wish I had remembered his suggestions.

Yeti Imperial Stout, CO, ABV 9.5%

The Yeti is how I like my stouts.  Dark, rich, with a hint of burnt malt and ends with a touch of sweet.  It also has a great nose and good strong bitter finish from the hops.  It had a good amount of carbonation that helped to relay the nose and give a bite to the flavor.

Yeti Stout
Yeti Imperial Stout, 9.5%

At ABV of 9.5% it will knock you on your tail if you were to drink a pint or more (yeah I have been to places where this happens).  Luckily on this night it was not served in a pint, but a smaller glass befitting its strength. It has IBUs of 75 so there is a good amount of bitter.

The Yeti has won a number of beer awards over the years and has stood the test of time.  I really enjoyed the Yeti and will drink it again. This is a beer that will go well with a nicely seasoned/seared/grilled chunk of beef.

I probably should have waited to have the high ABV  & bitter beer for the last beer of the night or I should have listened to my buddy Bill and had one of his other suggestions.  Instead I wanted to try a more local brew.  Looking at the list I had already had the Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb, ABV 13%.  Try drinking a couple pints of those in a night… remember I said something about that earlier.  So I went with the Iron Monk Milk Stout figuring to find something smoother and creamier to finish the night.

I would give the Yeti Imperial Stout a 4.5+ out of a 5.  I believe I need to drink a lot more of it to make certain of that ranking.

Iron Monk Milk Stout, OK, ABV 6%

Iron Monk Milk Stout
Iron Monk Milk Stout, OK

So my third and last beer of the eventing was the Iron Monk Milk Stout.  I went with the Milk Stout thinking about a smoother/creamier beer that would have more of a dessert finish for the night.  At 6% ABV it is a good beer, relative to the finish you off at night, if you had not been drinking a heavier beer before.  I am glad I didn’t drink one of the other high alcohol brews as I am not sure I would have been safe to get home, but still wish I had switched the two up in order.  The milk stout has IBUs of 26.  I did not find it bitter, but for some I am sure it would be.

It was a sweet and creamy beer that to me did not have much of a nose.  As I said earlier I did not find it bitter at all.  There was a touch of burnt or chocolate malt, mild hops.  The bit of nose detected was pleasant.

We got to talking around the table and it gave the beer time to warm up a little.  This helped to bring out the flavor and nose more and made it a much more enjoyable drink in the end.  A good finish to the end of the night.

Overall I would give it a 3.5 out of a 5.  It is definitely worth the drink and I will probably drink it again since it is local.  I hope to get out to Stillwater and visit the Iron Monk Brewery, est. 2014.


I liked both beers.  The Yeti was a better beer overall for my tastes, but I have been on a bit of an IPA kick over the past couple of years.  The Iron Monk Stout did deliver on what I wanted out of it.  I want to get out see the Iron Monk Brewery and try their IPA soon.  So now it is off to the next bar/beer to Sit Back, Relax and have ABigBeer.

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Stout Night – Belhaven Black Scottish Stout

Recently went out to have a drink with a few friends at McNellie’s South City here in Tulsa.  It is rated the best beer bar in Oklahoma.  A quick plug; lots of beer options, Beer Geek Specials that will bring you back, and a full restaurant if you are looking for food.  To see my full review of the beer bar click here.

While there I sampled 3 of the many Dark and Roasty (Stout) beers on hand:

Belhaven Black Scottish Stout

Beer Geek Special, March 2016, McNellie's
Beer Geek Special, March 2016, McNellie’s
Belhaven Black Stout
Belhaven Black Scottish Stout, SCT, ABV 4.2%

The Belhaven Black Scottish Stout was on special the day I visited McNellie’s and helped to set me on course for a night of stout beers.  I like stout beer so this wasn’t an issue that plagued me in the decision-making.  It was served from a can as shown in the picture and served a bit cold for my taste in beers. But all beers in America seem to be served too cold. As for the Belhaven Black Scottish Stout here are the particulars:

  • Style: English Stout, Not a very heavy beer.  I found it to actually be kind of watery for a stout.  When held to the light I could see light coming through it (coppery color).
  • Nitrogen Based rather than CO2 based.  I liked that aspect of it, smaller bubbles that helped to push flavor and a minor creamy feel.
  • Not much of a nose to it.  You could smell the malt and it gave off a sweet caramel smell to me.
  • Taste:  Sweet with a hint of chocolate flavors, I did not catch the coffee flavors others have reported.  If opportunity arises I may taste again.  I found it to be a little thin for my desires of a stout taste.  Not as much dark/burnt roasted malts as I would like to have.  It did have a smooth mouth feel and I figure that was from the nitrogen.  If it was a hot day and I wanted a beer with a little more taste than a pale ale it would probably be a decent choice, if no IPA’s were available.

Note: Do not confuse the Belhaven Black Scottish Stout with the Belhaven Scottish Stout, ABV 7%.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Other beers drank that night:

Reviews are posted for these beers, click abover.  Thanks for reading.  I am headed home to have ABigBeer and relax for the end of the day.

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