January 2, 2014 | Beer, Reviews

Sweetwater Brewing Happy Ending

Sweetwater Brewing Happy Ending photo

Last year I had the opportunity to first try Sweetwater Brewings Imperial Stout, Happy Ending. This wasn’t any ordinary stout, though. Sure, it may have had the appearance of your favorite black gold in a glass, but this thing was packed with citrusy, resinous hops. It was bar far the fruitiest and “hoppiest” stout I’ve probably ever had up until that point.

Fast forward 12 months and the brewery is back with this year’s release of the 9% ABV Happy Ending. And again, it is packed to the wax-sealed brim with a delicious blend of Centennial and Willamette hops, not to mention and additional dry-hopping of Cascade and more Centennial hops. Needless to say this big beer packs a ton of hop character into its murky depths. And just like last year, Happy Ending will certainly leave a devious smile on your face after each sip.

Appearance

The stout pours black with a small, frothy cap of brown foam that fell smoothly to a thick ring, leaving behind pretty decent lacing as it dropped.

Sweetwater Happy Ending photo

Aroma

Pine resin, coffee, orange peel, grapefruit notes and a decent roast all combine for an intriguing aroma.

Taste

Just like last year, a juicy blast of citrusy hops and pine arrive immediately as coffee notes persist in the background. There is a good amount going on within this beer besides just the hop profile. Light hints of cocoa and tobacco are also present, but the focus is on the layers of pine, grapefruit and spicy hops. The brew is still a bit on the thin side for my personal liking, but that doesn’t affect the overall enjoyment and the higher alcohol content is masked quite well.

Overall

Happy Ending is once again the most hop-forward imperial stout that I’ve encountered this year. I’ve had some examples where the hop profile is more apparent in some stouts, but none match the levels found here in Sweetwater’s annual release. This is certainly a nice way to start off the new year.

Rating: 4/5

This is a review of a promotional sample from the brewery.

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