Tag Archives: Imperial Stout

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout

Two-Brothers-North-Wind

Two-Brothers-North-Wind

Imperial Stouts aren’t exactly known for being demure. And with a name like Northwind, I expect this offering from Two Brothers to have some punch.

Pours like it should. Black with a dark brown head. In love with the aroma, charred wood, vanilla, and dark fruits. Surprisingly smooth and creamy. The flavor isn’t bludgeoning, but what is there is tasty and well balanced. Deep roasted malt, burnt marshmallows, and eventually toffee.

Not the biggest Imperial Stout out there, but quite tasty. Quaffable, to say the least.

Grade: B

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Left Hand Wake Up Dead Barrel Aged

Left Hand Wake Up Dead

Left Hand Wake Up Dead

This is a beer I have been trying to hunt down for a while, Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout. This is the barrel aged version, which has me even more excited.

Pours black, of course. Sweet vanilla, charred oak, and currants in the aroma. Flavor is even more complex with bourbon, more char, and smoke added. The evidence of the barrel aging is more pronounced as it warms. I’m even getting a hint of cherry, which really works. Cocoa powder and anise in there, as well. Hops finally come in at the end to provide a bitter finish.

A big fan of this. Huge flavors, obvious impact from the barrel aging, complex, balanced, very smooth. And the name? You’d never guess it weighs in at 10.2% ABV!

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Hoppin’ Forg B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout

Hoppin Frog BORIS

Widely regarded as both one of the best Oatmeal Stouts as well as one of the best RISs, this Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout is not for the weak-palated.

Pours a creamy deep coffee that looks silky smooth. Floating on top is the darkest head you’ll ever see with incredibly tight, Guinnessesque froth. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, charred oak, and sweet toffee. Remarkably smooth as it coats the mouth. So many interweaving flavors including currants, sweet malt, deeply roasted malt, some char and smoke. Exceptionally well balanced. Oatmeal comes more in the texture than it does the flavor.  The 9.4% ABV is surprisingly restrained. Not hot at all, just a pleasing warmth after the swallow. 60 IBUs, as well, but it doesn’t feel like nearly that many.

Amazing flavors, outstanding balance and complexity, delightful texture. It’s no wonder Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. is a multiple GABF Gold Medal winner

Grade: A+

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

If the name has you thinking this is a straightforward chocolate stout, the aroma will let you know you’ve wandered into Imperial Stout territory with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

The pour is as dark as you’ll find with a fluffy dark tan head. The smell is filled with toasted and charred malts, dark fruits, and dark rum. The flavor is complex and powerful. A hit of alcohol comes first, followed by charred marshmallows, dark fruit, and chocolate. Noticeable kick from the hops leads to a long, dry, woody, slightly sour finish.

Very big, very tasty. Grade: B

 

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Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti

Already a big fan of the “normal” Great Divide Yeti, I’m curious how the oak aging will affect the beer. The color is black, as expected, with some deep browns around the edges. The fluffy head might be the darkest I’ve ever seen. The aroma is mostly charcoal, chocolate, and toffee.

This is quite the big beer. More hops that usual with an Imperial Stout, keeping with the un-aged version. Lots of very bitter chocolate, toffee, and a bit of coffee. The oak aging shows up the most in the finish and the aftertaste. There are hints of vanilla along with a dry, woody aftertaste. Remarkably creamy for how much flavor and how aggressive this is, especailly when you consider it clocks in at 9.5% ABV.

It’s very, very good. But I’m not sure the oak aging will add enough for people who love that. I’d have to have the “normal” and the oak aged at the same time to compare. But you can’t go wrong with this one.

Grade: A

 

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

I remember the Blackout of 2003 this beer is named after. I was in college at the time, came home to find my roommates freaking out that power not only across the town, but across the state and even across part of the country was out. A couple of them in particular were thinking it was another terrorist attack, since it wasn’t even two full years since 9/11. I figured it was no big deal. Guess who was right.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout has an intoxicating aroma. Full of chocolate, toffee, and coffee. And the color is exactly what you expect. Dark fruits push through the roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate. Creamy texture and a simultaneously sweet and bitter finish.  9% ABV adds a pleasing warmth but not much kick.

This is a little tamer than Imperial Stouts from Stone, Hoppin’ Frog, or North Coast, but it still has tons of flavor and great balance.

Another outstanding brew from Great Lakes. Perhaps I’m biased, but I really think they are one of the best overall breweries out there.

Grade: A

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Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout

Heavy Seas Peg Leg

When I want something big, brash, and bold, I usually reach for Imperial Stouts. Will Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout plunder my wont for a huge, tasty beer?

The color is right on, but the head doesn’t compare to most others of the style. Very smooth. Might be the lightest bodied imperial stout I’ve had. There’s a hint of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and some dark fruit. Late bitterness from the hops.

It’s not bad, but it’s just not doing anything for me. Very tame and I wanted something more audacious.

Grade: C

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Stone Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout

Stone Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout

When you get something from Stone, you know it’s never going to be common or tame. The Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout lives up to that expectation.

Big, bold, black, and very aggressive. You’ll need a few pours to fit all this in one glass. The smell is nearly all anise, with some wood. It’s quite creamy with a lot of that black licorice flavor, dry wood, roasted malt, spicy hops. Outstanding lacing lures you in to try to find more flavors, the ones more common in a Russian Imperial Stout. If you hunt, you will pick up some of the currants, chocolate, coffee, but the anise is the real star here. I could see where some say it’s overpowering, but I love the flavor, so it’s working for me. The 10.5% ABV warms through the finish, along with a fun bitter bite.

There are some people who say you shouldn’t drink stouts, and especially Russian Imperial Stouts, in summer. I like to call those people “wrong”.

Another unique, tasty brew from Stone. But you have to love anise to love this. If you don’t, you will hate it.

Grade: A

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Great Divide Yeti

Great Divide Yeti

A beer and a brewery I have been wanting to try for a while, Great Divide’s Yeti is a multiple award winning Imperial Stout. Black as the abyss with a dark sticky head. The smell is roasty and a lot hoppier than I had anticipated. The taste is huge and complex like an Imperial Stout should be! Bittersweet chocolate, caramel and toffee, then finally a big, musty, dry, woody finish. It doesn’t have that currant flavor that a lot of RISs do. Velvety texture and so drinkable you need to be careful that the Yeti’s 9.5% ABV doesn’t unleash your untamed side. Superior lacing, as well. Every sip is a little different. The hops are more noticeable as it warms.

Complex and curious, this isn’t a beer to gulp, it’s one to savor and discover. Try it!

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Hoppin’ Frog D.O.R.I.S.

A Double Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout sounds quite inviting, doesn’t it? It’s Akron’s Hoppin’ Frog D.O.R.I.S. The Destroyer! Even though Akron isn’t that far away, this is the first I can even remember seeing anything from Hoppin’ Frog.

The first thing that stands out is the color. Black as tar and exceptionally thick with the darkest brown head I have ever seen. Smells of wood and alcohol. The taste? Well, it’s so complex it’s going to take a while to get through this! Starts with hops and bittersweet chocolate, a wallop of hop bitterness, hint of sweet, then a burnt finish. It’s past roasted into burnt, and normally that wouldn’t work, but it really does. A bit of alcohol late in the finish. A lot of RISs I have had feature some sweet currant flavors rather prominently, but this doesn’t. The most surprising taste really is the burnt finish, but I’m digging it.

Rather expensive at more than $10 for a 22 oz, but it’s great!

Can’t forget the 10.5% ABV, either.

Grade: A+

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