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Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, also know just as Hunahpu or 'Huna" is an 11.8% imperial stout with cinnamon, vanilla, cacao nibs and chile peppers. The beer skyrocketed in popularity around 2010 and 2011, and was highly sought after by avid beer drinkers and beer traders. It's still one of the most well-known imperial stouts in the country, and although production is much higher than the early 2010s, it's still a highly sought after beer and considered a "whale" for a number of beer drinkers.
Side note: If you want to know how this beer ages over time, check out the review I did of a 5-year Hunahpu vertical.
The beer is released every year in March, and outside of trading, can only be purchased at the annual Hunahpu's Day event in Tampa, FL. Before Hunahpu's Day evolved into one of the premier beer festivals in the Southern United States, the beer was released at a first-come-first-served event Cigar City's Spruce Street taproom parking lot. Over the years it evolved from a normal bottle release to a small beer festival, to the big annual event it is today with hundreds of breweries and thousands of attendees.
This beer initially caught my attention when I got into beer trading in 2011 and 2012, and I attended my first Hunahpu's Day in 2013. Since then, it's become a father-son tradition with me and my Dad to drive from their place near Miami to Tampa for the annual event. For that reason, this beer holds a special place in my heart. Despite that nostalgia, I stand by my assessment that this is one of the best imperial stouts in the US, and my personal favorite stout's brewed with peppers.
Below are some photos I was able to dig up from that first Hunahpu's Day I went to back in March of 2013.
Name: Hunahpu's Imperial Stout
Brewed by: Cigar City Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Stout
Availability: Annually in March
Price: $30 (750 mL)
Note: This tasting was of a 2020 bottle that was fresh, and should be relatively accurate for subsequent releases that are also drank fresh.
General thoughts: This is one of my favorite stouts, and my favorite peppered stout. It's got the right amount of body and alcohol without being overwhelming. It has the perfect balance of sweet and spice from the peppers, and I find it very easy to split a 750 mL bottle between two people.
Huna pours motor-oil dark brown/black with a stellar dark brown/tan head that retains well.
You get a bit of the barrel and coffee in the nose, but much more of the cinnamon, pepper, and vanilla.
This one hits off the bat with dark chocolate and vanilla with a linger coffee taste, rounded out by the pepper and spices that blend for an amazing finish. Just the the right amount of pepper balanced with just the right amount of sweetness.
Thick and smooth, but a tiny bit less bold than you would think given the flavors. It's carbonation is perfect, and you get a tinge of booze but it's not overwhelming at all.
Outside of beer trading, the best way to get Hunahpu is to attend the annual event in Tampa, FL. There are various ticker tiers that come with varying amounts of bottles. Given how much they make and how many people attend, it's usually not too difficult to get someone to trade a bottle a month or so after the event.
Like so many other beers that were whales and then become more available, some people don't think much of Hunahpu. In some respects, I get it - there are so many breweries pumping out amazing imperial stouts that despite being a great beer, Huna just doesn't tower over other options on the market like it used to. That doesn't mean it isn't a fantastic beer. Additionally, I have yet to find a better stout brewed with peppers.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Hunahpu's Day has become an annual father-son tradition with my Dad, which is one reason why this beer has a special place in my heart (but I promise, it's actually amazing).
I want to hear from you. Are there beers you want me to try? Local or not, I’d love to hear it so let me know!