It’s been awhile since I posted any beer reviews. Today I review two Russian Imperial Stouts, one by Joseph James Brewing Company, and the other by Widmer Brothers.
Russian Imperial Stout: Joseph James Brewing Company, Henderson, Nevada. 9.5% ABV. This beer is aged in bourbon barrels for that unique flavor.
The beer pours jet black, with a dark tan, thick head that fades fairly rapidly. The aroma is chocolate and vanilla sweet. The flavor follows the aroma without any surprises. It’s chocolate with a very nice bourbon taste. It’s sweet, without the typical stout coffee flavor and bitterness. The hops balance the sweetness somewhat, but it is by no means a bitter beer, nor does it display any happiness in the flavor (or aroma). This one is all about the chocolate and bourbon (vanilla). I highly recommend this beer, especially if you like Russian stouts, and even more so if you like bourbon barrel aged beer. It’s excellent, but a little pricey.
I sampled this from a 22 oz bomber (sealed with wax). I purchased it from Total Wine for $15.99. I actually purchased two bottles – I’m aging one in our wine cellar. This beer is a real treat, but is definitely a sipping/dessert beer. In my opinion, it’s worth the price, so go ahead and treat yourself to something special.
Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’13: Widmer Brothers Brewing Company, Portland, Oregon. 9.3% ABV. This is an imperial stout brewed with raspberries.
Raspberry Russian pours black with a dark tan creamy head. The aroma is floral sweet, with raspberry quite evident in the nose. It possesses a medium body, not as velvety as many other imperial stouts (Stone IRS, Joseph James bourbon barrel stout, Little Levi’s Bourbon Barrel Stout, Mac’s Black Forest Stout), but nonetheless, has a nice mouthfeel.
The flavor is somewhat typical IRS – chocolate and coffee notes, with roasted barley bitterness. The coffee is more evident than the chocolate, but even that is tempered by the raspberry sweetness. I would say the coffee predominates with the raspberry next and then the chocolate in the background. There is a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue well after swallowing.
This beer is OK, but not what I expected. The raspberry lends a very unusual flavor. It’s not your typical bittersweet beer. I saw this at Total Wine, was intrigued by the name of the beer and the description (IRS brewed with raspberries) and decided to give it a try. It’s not bad, but in my opinion, not worth the price ($12.99 for a 22 oz bottle). Having said that however, I must add that Sheila tried it and liked it (the girl who doesn’t like dark beer). Go figure! I don’t think she would drink 22 oz of it, but liked it a lot when tasting just a small sample.
Now that you know what’s out there, go have a beer adventure (try some new beer). Cheers!