This little beauty will keep Oleg and his huskies warm against the bitter Ural wind. Russian Imperial Stout is a variety of British stout brewed considerably richer and stronger than the norm. Originally crafted for export to czarist Russia, Catherine the Great, among others, was a known enthusiast.
First, YEM is dark. Dark, dark, dark. When you get your nose down to the rim of the beautiful teardrop glass, on that reddish-brown, lacy head of foam, you will pick up some strong aromatics of chocolate, alcohol and black fruit. Or maybe it’s red fruit, I don’t know. I’m on my third glass already.
The brilliance of its composition becomes clear at first taste, where a deep bass of very rich, sweet chocolaty flavor gives over to high notes of elevated alcohol and then decrescendos to a slight bitterness from highly-roasted malts. If you’re better at this than I am, you may detect some hop flavor-we used British Northdown. Continuing its articulate arpeggio across your palate, YEM trills notes of vanillin, hints of bourbon and oak, and an enchanting tannic note of red wine, with a smooth, creamy licorice flavor that coats without cloying. A final improvised splash of cherry-ish fruit grabs for your attention before a ridiculously long, lingering, espresso-roasted finish.
YEM has been aged since early September in a variety of oak barrels, both American oak from Jack Daniels, and French oak from Cognac used for barrel-aging pinot noir, before being blended back together. It exhibits great complexity contributed by tannins, toasted oak, and oxidation which complement the myriad flavors of malt and alcohol. Several small kegs of unblended, pinot noir barrel-aged YEM will be released at a later date. When? We’ll keep you guessing. It is 10.5% ABV, and quite beguiling for its richness. So please enjoy responsibly.
Glasnost, Will, Brad, Megan, and Phil
mkgrenwel (574) - North Shore, Massachusetts, USA - APR 27, 2013
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
First thing I notice is that coconut note I get from CBC’s barrel aged beers. Slightly tart and vinious. Some alcohol on the nose as well. Flavor is port, cherries, coconut. Bittersweet cocoa lingers in the back of the mouth. Completely silky smooth, only broken by slight alcohol burn in the finish. The overall impression is chocolate covered fruits. Delicately nuanced, yet bold. Not a typical imperial stout, but in the best possible way.
Kavu (2426) - Helsinki, FINLAND - DEC 1, 2014
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
5 fl. oz. on tap @ CBC. Pours very dark brown with no head. Aroma is roasted malts, alcohol and chocolate. Flavor is roasted malts, chocolate, alcohol, a hint of coffee and a hoppy finish. Really good.
dogfish120love (1000) - Westfield, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 28, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2010 barrel aged. On draft 3/28/14. Pours a dark brown essentially black with a dark brown lacing. Heavy notes of chocolate, oak, coffee and some soy sauce.
GuillaumeCL (344) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAY 22, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours opaque black with a ring of head. Smell is lots of roastiness, coffee, bit of chocolate, and some bourbon. Palate is on the heavier side of medium bodied with nearly no carbonation. Taste is sweet and roasty and tart. Sour tartness builds a bit before the bitter overtakes. Bitter and sour and roaster mingle in the aftertaste. Definite barrel flavor and smell in there, maybe a bit much.
SrSilliGose (3269) - pouring bus, New Brunswick, CANADA - MAY 5, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
tap at CBC. 2011 batch consumed in May 2013. nice beer. slightly vinous red wine oak, nutty clean roasted chocolate. touch of coffee roast. cream. clean. tasty. nice.
madmitch76 (16111) - , Essex, ENGLAND - MAY 5, 2012
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
4th August 2009
Cask at GBBF. 10.5%. Opaque black beer. Soft palate. Sweet malty start with a definite oaky streak. Finishes with rich sweet dark malt with hints of whisky and brandy liquer and oak. Lovely! The best beer at GBBF 2009.
HighWine (954) - Whalezbro, Illinois, USA - MAR 4, 2012
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tap at the brewery. Dark brown/black pour. Thin light brown head. 3 Aroma of red wine vinaigrette. 6 I was expecting an imperial stout but got a moderately roasty sour ale. Surprising. 7. Decent mouthfeel 3. O: 15
hbmason (1086) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - FEB 17, 2012
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On draft at the brew pub. Pitch black with little head. Chocolate and dark fruit. Nice complexity.
pushkinwow (2098) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 10, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tap at Night of the Barrels (EBF). Dark brown with a tan head. Roasted and sweet malts, chocolate, dark fruit, molases, oak, alcohol, vanilla, and some lactose. Full body, below average carbonation, coats the palate but has a bite, not that balanced (maybe it as just fresh), malts and chocolate come through on the end.
dimenhetfield (2487) - , Florida, USA - FEB 7, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Consumed both at NOTB and at Cambridge. This one puzzled me quite a bit. At Cambridge it was sour, which would have been great had they labeled it a sour stout. At NOTB it was just about perfect in balance and flavor. Either way, sour or regular, it was tasty.
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