Imperial Stout

Cigar City Brewing – Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout


Good evening again faithful readers. It’s an especially fine evening tonight, I happen to have IMHO the best stout in the world. You might have noticed from the picture, this is a beast of a beer. It’s a seasonal release from Cigar City and is the mother of all stouts, named after the great Russian Marshal Zhukov. This beer promises to be a heavy hitter based on the label alone, boasting an impressive 11%. Let’s get on with it then, best not keep this beauty waiting any longer.

Impressive…that’s what come’s to my mind when I look into this beautiful brew. She pours out like motor oil, the blackest of black, and incredibly thick. Even the head cannot escape the darkness untainted, it emerges from the bowels of this beastly beauty, stained with the tasty tar of her depths. The head leaves a beautiful lacing as it struggles to stay above the pit of despair. She’s an amazing looking brew, truly a thing of beauty. I must be closer to this beer…

Ahh…the smell is very subdued for such a big brew, perhaps the aroma has trouble escaping the thickness of this beauty.  If I try reaaaaal hard I can get some aroma though. It’s dominated mostly by roasted malts and dark chocolate, with the slightest hint of coffee. It promises a very balanced taste in a very bold beer, let’s see if she live up to it.

Oh, this brew tastes amazing. The flavor that hits you first is incredible, it’s like a wave of chocolate mixed with hoppy bitterness crashing across your tongue whilst locked in an epic battle. As you swallow, the bitterness takes over, and you get the warm and fuzzy internal hug of alcohol washing down your chest. Yup, she’s a cuddler alright, a perfect beer for winter. In fact, the brewery suggests holding on to this beer until winter, mine won’t be lasting that long! The finish stays with you long after you’ve swallowed your beer, a mild bitterness and slightly alcoholic, almost like the aftertaste of whiskey. Ah the remnants of greatness… But there’s one thing about tasting this beer that truly stand out, and that’s the body. Super rich and creamy doesn’t do this justice, it’s the absolute perfect body for a heavy stout. The richest of the rich, this is the Oprah of stouts people! They don’t come thicker than… The Marshal….

Overall, this is a god damned honor to stout. The body alone deserves applause, and the taste stands right next to it. If your a fan of stouts, or heavy beers, you gotta try to get one of these babies.

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial Stout | 3 Comments

Dogfish Head – Miles Davis’ Bitches brew


Ah, good evening again faithful readers. The time has once again come, the time…for beer. Tonight’s player is a very cool customer, possibly the coolest there ever was. It’s Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, named after the album, an intriguing blend of honey beer and imperial stout laced with gesho root, whatever the hell that is. It’s probably going to be every bit as complex as it’s namesake. Well, let’s see what this musically infused baby looks like, shall we?

Ah… now there’s a dark complex beer if I ever saw one. A copious amount of head as thick as ice cream sits atop a pitch black vortex of complex flavor. Truly, she is a dark mysterious beauty, begging to be appreciated and tasted. Far be it from me to deny such requests…

Mmm… it’s a swirling vortex of aroma, like a couple in an endless dance, spinning until the end of time. I can sense a roasty chocolatey aroma paired with the sweet overtones of honey and vanilla. Honestly, this is one damn fine smelling beer right here. I’m gonna dive right in, this beer deserves to be tasted right now.

Smooth baby, real smooooth. This beer is Miles Davis, it’s the smoothest brew I’ve ever had, real cool. The roasted chocolate aroma is definitely a big player in this band called “Flavor”. You can hear him the loudest, with Coffee Man backin him up on bass. And creating some ambiance for an all around taste is sweet Miss Honey. She wraps everyone up in her loving arms, infusing her flavor across the entire experience. And of course, the body of this beauty is velvety smooth, which is perfect for this beers homage. She finishes clean with the slighest bitter aftertaste, but it’s so slight you almost believe it’s purely your imagination…or is it?

Overall, this is one smooth beer that’s pretty damn tasty to boot. It’s mostly a stout, but it’s rough edges have been sanded by honey, and if I hand any idea what gesho root was I could tell you about how that impacted it…C’est la vie. If you dig the sweeter stouts, give this a try no doubt.

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial Stout | Leave a comment

Hoppin Frog – B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher


Ah, hello there faithful readers. Another fine eve is upon us, and what better way to enjoy it than by reviewing a nice brew. Tonight’s episode stars: BORIS, The Crusher! I’m gonna have a hard time referring to this beer as a woman…ah who am I kidding, no I won’t. Though this beer has a name that would fit a wrestler perfectly, that won’t stop my womanly personification of beer. The name is actually a clever acronym for: Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. Ah, one of my favorite styles. What’s even cooler, for me at least, is that it’s brewed in Akron, Ohio. I grew up in a little burg called Olmsted Township which wasn’t too far away from Akron. I’m happy to see my home state producing such fine beer! The bottle boldly claims it will crush me like no other…alright well I’m a former Marine, let’s see what she’s got! (See, already referring to her as a woman)

Mmmm… she certainly looks like she could crush somebody. It’s like a black hole formed in my glass and is now sucking all light deep into her bowels. And the head must trek through her darkest depths to catch the slightest glimpse of the world above. It succeeds, and grows with pride to an impressive size, basking in the freedom as long as it can before the beast sucks it back down to the netherworld. You can really tell the head wanted to escape, it clings to the sides desperately as it’s strangled back down to the briny deep, but nothing can escape… BORIS. I fear my nose may be sucked right into the glass, but it’s a risk I will bravely accept for the sake of my faithful readers!

Ohh mannnn this issssss ohh noo! Noo!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!

Ed. Note – Sadly, Brian has been sucked into BORIS for all eternity. This was his last action on earth, may he be remembered forever.

Alright just kidding.

Now this brew definitely has an aroma that sucks you right in, just not literally. The smell encompasses you entirely, surround your soul with warmth and happiness. I would say she smells very enticing for a so called “crusher”, though the aroma crushes your nostrils with flavor. The first scent you notice is most assuredly coffee and chocolate, and man is it STRONG. There’s almost an overtone of caramel and alcohol, it’s a very boozy-sweet aroma, and that’s my favorite smell on any woman! It smells like comfort beer to me, a nice warming mug for  a cold winters night here in Southern Florida. Nothing like a fine strong ale to warm me from these 80° nights.  Well the first step to getting warm is to actually drink, so onward!

Amazingly balanced…wow I’m blown away. There’s a reason this beer won the Great American Beer Fest gold medal twice, and it’s because it tastes freaking perfect. What truly amazes me is the lack of an overpowering aftertaste that is common in oh-so-many heavy beers. Drink an Old Rasputin and your gonna taste that one for a while afterwards. This baby’s finish is so balanced it’s barely noticable until you take another sip, and then it springs back to life with a burst of wonderful flavor. Let’s take this one step by step, she certainly deserves it:

First you get hit with a healthy dose of chocolately, malty, coffee goodness, all mixed together in wonderful balance. The key to this finely balanced circus act is Miss Chocolate. You see, she’s not some wispy Mz. Milk Choclate, oh no, shes a strong powerful Miss Dark Chocolate, taking supreme confidence in her lack of sweetness. And when she tangos with Mr. Coffee (happy coincidence I swear! no lawsuits please), they dance a divine dance on a stage of roasted malts. And moments before this all becomes too much for the audience, they are doused in a healthy amount of alcohol. The couple continues their tango, all the while the alcohol falls like rain and they dance up until the very last drop hits the stage. As the precipitation finally fades the lovers take their bow and gracefully exit stage left, leaving a single rose in memory of the dance you just witnessed.

Are you still with me? Good, time to come down to planet earth and wrap up this review.

Overall, this brew is one of the best imperial stouts money can buy. I’ve rarely had a beer this heavy that was so finely balanced, I could make a metaphor about something there but I’ll spare you. It’s a fine example of a stout done right, it’s rich and smooth and powerful, like Will Smith used to be. If your into stouts, or really good beer, do yourself a favor and grab one of these sometime. You will be crushed!

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial Stout | Leave a comment

Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti


(Ed. Note- This is a review from some time ago after I had stopped reviewing)

Well here I sit once again on a Sunday afternoon. There’s a very special beer sitting in front of me, so special that I felt it had to be the first review I did since I got back. It’s definitely been a long time since I wrote a review and I’m looking forward to getting back into it.  Not that I haven’t been drinking good beer in the  meantime, oh no nothing so preposterous! I happened to misplace a vital piece of my camera so it has been decommissioned until quite recently. Shortly after, almost like it was destiny, I came upon a brew that intrigued me so much I simply couldn’t pass it by. As I walked down the aisle, a radiating halo of light appeared to be coming from this bottle. It was demanding my attention subconsciousness, and who am I to go against my subconscious? With a golden orange label and a familiar name for comfort I cradled my bottle as I brought it home, and waited, and waited, and waited. It’s the last bottle of brew until I schedule a new trip, but I am very glad I waited.

Now I know your probably saying “Hey Brian, what the hell is so special about this beer?” Well, I’ll tell you my alcoholic friends! It’s because they have taken on of my favorite beers, Yeti, but used a Belgian yeast instead of the normal yeast! This should give it a lot of the fruit and spice flavor that comes in most Belgian brews regardless of type. Now Weyerbacher has a Belgian Imperial Stout, which is essential the same thing.  It’s called Tiny, and it’s delicious, but Yeti I have always know as a traditional Russian Imperial Stout, so this is like seeing  a Belgian Old Rasputin…man that would be amazing. Perhaps I should e-mail North Coast brewing…I digress. I’m very excited about this brew…I truly am. So without further ado…

It pours out dark, dark brown with a head that comes a bit belated. The head forms from the bowels of your glass slowly to leave a beautiful topping, as you can see above. Wow, when I say dark, I mean dark. It might as well be considered black but in the light you can see hints of brown, and there is no lookin’ through this baby, that’s for damn sure. It’s like some kind of dark skinned sultry exotic dancer, I hope it doesn’t smell like one. 😉
Fact: Winks make every joke tolerable, no matter how blue…moving on.

Well it certainly smells fantastic, nothing like latex and astroglide so that’s great! 😉 The smell is quite subdued, but it’s there if you really smell. You just gotta work a bit to get it, your not afraid of a little hard work are you? Good! Well get in there an take a big ol’ sniff! Now it’s mostly malts like a good stout should be, but there is Belgian flare of spice for sure. It mostly smells like a solid roasty stout though, some hints of coffee as well. Let’s not forget that Yeti is a stout, period. This just has a bit of variation, but man this is a confident feeling stout…if that makes sense in the least bit. Enough is enough, let’s see how it tastes.

Ah, now thats stout! (Have I said it’s a stout enough yet?)First and foremost, I would like to officially praise Great Divide on the body and texture of Yeti. It’s simply the prime example of balance in a rich creamy stout, it’s smooth and heavy. I’m sure theres a funny analogy in there, feel free to send them in! Maybe like an overweight seal? Jokes aside, the taste itself is a testamant to balance as well. It starts off with a very coffee-like malty taste. The spices of the Belgian are almost undetectable, I might be tricking myself into tasting them actually. Then you get a great wave of bitter when you swallow that counters the sweetness, but there’s very little sweetness to this bad boy. It’s a stout until the end, with a nearly undetectable twist, but a twist nonetheless. The original Yeti is fantastic, so I’m glad they didn’t go wild here and kept most of the original taste. I really wish I had a normal one to compare it to now, I’m gonna pick one up on my next trip for sure. Damn you Yeti, I can’t escape your meaty paws!

Overall this is a great stout. Don’t let the Belgian-Style label fool ya, it’s a stout there’s no doubt. HA! Now that made me smile right there. If you like a good stout, there’s no doubt, try Yeti Out,  Belgian-Style that is. Seriously though, stout fans should give this baby a go, it’s not too heavy (for people who like heavy beers) and not too light, in fact this brew it seems just right. Ok I’m done, it sure was fun.

Until next beer this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial Stout | Leave a comment

Great Divide – Oak Aged Yeti


Ohhhh yeah faithful readers… today is a special day. I’ve got a lovely, pitch black, thick-as-molasses Russian Imperial Stout from Great Divide! They make the Hercules Double IPA that was extremely good, and incredibly strong to boot. It sure was a double IPA, and this stout looks like a double stout…or an extra stout as Guinness would put it. Although I do love Irish stouts like Guinness, Russian Imperial Stouts seem to have more flavor. They absolutely have no less body though, if anything they have even more! It’s one of the rare occasions where I prefer the beauty with a bigger body. Well, I have a feeling this is gonna be one of my favorites. Apparently the Oak aging subdues the hoppy and malty taste. “Who says you can’t tame a Yeti?” is printed proudly the side of the bottle. I can dig it, I like this brews style. Well let’s get on with it then!

Wow, this pour is everything I asked for and more. It pours out with the most delightful sound of a viscous brew sliding into my glass. This bad boy looks like engine oil, which is delicious in it’s own incapacitating way. It has a minimal head though, half a finger’s width at most, but in the most beautiful brown color I have ever seen in a head. You know when you see head like this your in for some flavor…man I can’t wait. The head leaves a decent amount of lacing too for what little there is. This is an area where Irish and Russian stouts differ a lot. If you’ve ever seen the head on a Guinness you know what I mean. Well I dig the color and hopefully that will be enough to make up for the lack of quantity. Let’s see what she smells like.

Oh what a beautiful smell…pretty much what I expected. Roasted chocolatey goodness is invading my olfactory system. It’s sweet and subdued, malty and hoppy, and an overtone of chocolate all wrapped neatly in a little package. It damn well smells like a damn good stout that’s for damn sure…damn! I can’t take it anymore…I’m putting this baby in my mouth. (Said the dingo)

Perfect… that’s the first thought that comes to my mind. The first thing I notice in the taste are the roasted malts. They are very very subdued though, as the bottle claimed they would be. Or did it claim the hops would be subdued…well, no matter, I can’t be troubled to read it again I have beer to drink.  It has this sweetness to it however slight it is. This is followed up by the hops and chocolate. The hops greatly overpower the chocolate, but that’s a good thing. Now don’t get me wrong chocolate is fantastic, but I want a beer…not a milkshake. And this here is a beer, there’s no doubt about that! The aftertaste is a bold period on that last sentence of this brews biography, a period filled with hop bitterness. I love a good strong beer like this! One thing I don’t notice is the alcohol, the flavor is so intense it eliminates any trace of it. At least for me, and remember I’m an alcoholic, so I know what it tastes like! The body is thick, rich, and oh-so-smooth. There’s a very slight bite but it is quite subdued, perhaps the oak aging did this. This is a beer that could substitute a meal no doubt , it’s richer and has more body than Oprah!

Overall this is a fantastic Russian Imperial Stout. I’d say its not as good as “Old Rasputin” (ultimately my favorite) but it is quite a bit easier on the bitterness factor, especially compared to the standard version of Yeti. The oak aging really does subdue the bite, but honestly that’s what I’m missing. It bites, just not hard enough in my opinion…I had the same problem with my girlfriend… I’d recommend this for people who are put off by too much bite but like a lot of body and with hops to boot!
Until next beer this is Brian G. singing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial Stout | 2 Comments

Weyerbacher Tiny


Wow…just wow. (Took a preemptive sip…couldn’t be helped) Today I have a fantastic beer! I know I say that every single time, but I’m extremely excited about this beer. First of all, it’s a great brewery. I’ve had Weyerbacher Russian Imperial Stout and it’s easily in my top 3 choices. What I have today is a Belgian style Imperial Stout….whaaaaaat? *insert record scratch*

That’s right folks, an imperial stout with a Belgian twist. I am already salivating for Tiny,  and what a cool name too. The bottle teases:  “This velvety concoction excites your senses with bottomless roasted, earthy, and vinous notes.”  I don’t know what vinous means though, perhaps green or leafy? I’ll have to Google it now… Aha! It means it resembles wine, makes sense now that I say vinous out loud. Well, I was never one to trust written word.  I’ll make sure to confirm or reject these claims. First things first…

The pour blew me away. This is literally the Loudest beer I have ever heard, and that’s not something I’m listening for! I poured this bodacious beauty and the head almost crackled and popped like so many Rice Krispies. I truly have never heard a head like this, or at all for that matter. I mean the sound is always there, but it never brings attention to itself…simply stunning.

Not only is the sound amazing, the look is superb. It’s really got me salivating right now, it’s like silky darkness. The head is a beautiful dark brown…Man I love it when the head is brown. Someone’s gonna take that phrase the wrong way…ah well. Talk about dark though, it’s an almost black brown that is opaque as a brick wall. I cannot wait to taste this, unfortunately I must refrain for a few moments at least…on to the smell.

Well, let’s see if this is “vinous” …why yes, yes it is. This baby has an extremely rich and alcoholic aroma, like Charlie Sheen I’d imagine. It’s a very powerful smelling beer, and now that I know what vinous means all I can smell is wine. Thanks a lot internet…. I know there is fruit in there, and perhaps some malts, but all I can smell is the vinous notes!

Let’s see if it tastes like wine too, I hope not I don’t really enjoy wine.

Ah, there’s that body, there’s that imperial stout body. Malty, foamy, smooth and rich…there’s a metaphor for someone in there.  I’m getting an aftertaste of roasted malts for sure, definitely a coffee type aftertaste. The initial taste, and how sweet it is, is extremely fruity. Oh what a flavor, it’s well balanced, not overly sweet at all. It’s not bitter in the least bit either. When you swallow you get that wine feel, the warming sensation and bite from the alcohol. Then a slight, ahem, “vinous” aftertaste which is shortly overpowered by the roasted malty aftertaste. Wow…what a complex ass flavor! Weyerbacher, you’ve done it again.

Overall, a top choice. I can taste the mixture of Belgian style techniques on Russian flavors. I may be wrong but I believe Russian imperial stouts are the pinnacle of stouts and I can taste there Russian influence here. The texture and flavor have shade of Belgian brown or dubbel, the fruitiness at the beginning especially tastes similar. That’s probably what brings this so close to wine, not to mention the staggering (literally) 11.8% ABV.

Tiny, you remind me of the tall guy named Tiny in some cliché 50’s mobster movie.

Until next beer, this is Brian G signing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial Stout | Leave a comment

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