Sympathy For The Serpent

Brewery and Country of Origin: The Lost Abbey Brewing Company of 155 Mata Way #104, San Marcos, CA, 92069, USA

Date Reviewed: 10-16-12

If you look back through the pages of religion and history, you will find that there are few creatures or even things that are more misunderstood than snakes. The media portrayal of snakes and serpents has not been much help to ameliorate the case for Slytherin. Sure, we think they're as creepy and evil as the next person, but is that derived from our own instincts or cultural and societal perception? Well, aside from what other people tell us about our own opinions of snakes, Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) is present in about 33% of adults, making it the most common phobia (yes, above spiders, heights, dying, and caterpillars). According to recent research, this is an innate fear which comes from many species of snakes which can be poisonous. This common fear would have been vital for survival as it kept people safe by subconciously alerting humans of a dangerous threat identified immediately by the visual presence of a snake. So in this way, our rational, yet sometimes uncontrollable fear of snakes has shaped the way they are illustrated in culture and society. The serpent has been a representation of evil in religious context, it is deceiving in fiction literature, and it has been used as a way to kill people on a plane in the movies. And despite the fact that most of us hate snakes, we can't help but feel at least a bit sorry for them. They are creepy, scary, and nightmarish, but that is something that neither party involved can control. Fortunately, movies like Snakes on a Plane, The Jungle Book, and Harry Potter are doing what they can to show the serpent in good light... oh wait. Nevermind. Nope. No one likes snakes, and because of that, Lost Abbey has decided to brand this beer as a representation of evil. Though despite its maligned character, this stout is in a way, temptation. This is a very good beer, and no stout fan would doubt that. But sometimes even the snootiest of beer snobs can let temptation get the better of them.
Date Sampled: 9-15-12 At: Lord Hobo, 92 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 11.00%
Serving Type: Keg, 12 oz Chalice/Wine Glass
Rating: 4.03


This beer has a very dark brown color with an opaque appearance. It pours very smoothly with low carbonation action, presenting the drinker with a very thin quarter inch foam head with low retention, and moderate lacing on the glass. This beer contains no sediment.


The Serpent's Stout has a somewhat faint coffee roasted and dark chocolate malty set of aromas with absolutely no hops present as well. The higher alcoholic content of this brew contributes to a fairly warming and slightly overpowering aspect of the aroma, which isn't as covered up by the malt as would be ideal.


This is a very full bodied beer with a coinciding high viscosity and a moderately low amount of carbonation. The Serpent's is very smooth and almost textured like a thin syrup or molasses. This beer's finish is dull with a dry character and a lingering close overall.


This is both a sweet and bitter brew with a very strong coffee and dark chocolate malt flavor profile overall, with a very small, but noticeable amount of alcohol detectable as well. Also present is a very bitter, lingering aftertaste at the close. The hoppy flavors do not show up until the finish.

Our Take

As you would imagine, this is not a beer for the easy going, light pale lager or bitter fanatic. This is an unforgiving beer with a bold, strong, and powerful presence that can easily go unappreciated if unrespected. At 11.00%, this particular stout isn't exactly what you'd call drinkable either. The Serpent is an excellent beer, but we can assure you that you will not like it if you're not into heavy, dark, and strong malty beers. And this is also best appreciated in the colder seasons, so don't bring a keg of this to Miami beach. However, if you are into bigger beers, please give this one a try. You'll be in for a real treat. A complex, but very well balanced flavor along with prominent aromas and a beautiful appearance. This is a beer to be reckoned with, but if you take the time to understand it, you'll certainly want more. So Adam and Eve, here is an object of temptation that you can enjoy without relegating man to a life of manual labor and woman to painful childbirth. Oh too late. That's what you get for taking advice from a serpent.