Mar 28, 2013

Heavy Seas Siren Noire

In the past, Heavy Seas Siren Noire was simply an imperial stout with some cocoa nibs added to the mix. This year, the Maryland brewery decided to up the ante a bit with this 9.5% ABV brew. Now, this tasty stout has even more nibs added along with vanilla bean, but that’s not all. The company then aged the beer for three weeks in retired bourbon barrels — Buffolo Trace barrels, I believe.

The end result of this revamped recipe is a beer that is not only darn tasty, but nicely balanced. It brings a solid chocolate character (though not over blown) and a welcome, complimentary bourbon presence. This is a big stout that is rich in flavor yet deceptively smooth.


Siren Noire pours an opaque black with a dense crown of foam that was dark brown in color.


Loads of dark chocolate, a moderate espresso character, subtle roast, light bourbon and distant wood fill the nose. The beer smells rich.


As great as the nose presented itself, the flavor outshines it. It’s got everything from the aroma plus a more pronounced bourbon element, full mouthfeel and moderate, lingering warmth. The bourbon is at a level that compliments the other elements instead of taking over the show. Three weeks doesn’t sound like a long time, but that period of aging imparted just the right level of flavors to go along with the dark chocolates and light sweetness. The finish, as stated, is slightly warming and a touch on the drying side.


Everything about this beer appears to be thoroughly thought out. The chocolate, the hint of vanilla and bourbon are at all the right levels making for a drinking experience that is not only well crafted, but incredibly balanced — no one element dominates the palate. I will be buying more of this… soon.

Rating: 4.25/5

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