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overall
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99
style
Serve in Snifter

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on tap
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Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 1006   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.2/5   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 85   EST. CALORIES: 288   ABV: 9.6%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tastier. 85 IBUs. Labels:

’07 = Grim Reaper
’08 = Devil
’09 = Mummy
’10 = Vampire
’11 = Zombie
’12 = Werewolf
’13 = Hell Demon
’14 = Harpy (bottled reviews have separate entry in database)
’15 = Bat


JLAudio's rating

4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
JLAudio (282) - Crestwood, Illinois, USA - NOV 21, 2008
On tap at Sheffields bar (Chicago, IL). Poured into a goblet at perfect semi-cool temperature. Black opaque with a fantastic 3 finger tan head. The aromas of roasted malts hit my nose most predominantly along with chocolate, oak, and dark cherry. The mouthfeel was phenomenal, soft, velvety, and mouthfilling. It had slight, slight carbonation, it worked perfectly. The flavors were so refined and balanced, full of roasted chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, honey, and a slight bourbon. The IBU’s could be felt on the finish, along with a gentle warming of alcohol. Superb. One of the best imperials out there. Now I need to try in bottles.


4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Zakoon (415) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - JAN 27, 2016
650ml bottle enjoyed @ home, 2013 vintage. Pours black with a firm beige head. Aroma is roasted malt, quite hoppy, malty, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, raisins and brown sugar. Flavour is medium bitter and medium sweet. Full bodied, oily texture, soft carbonation. Finish is sweet, surprisingly hoppy and a bit of warming alcohol.

4.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
GJF (1448) - Mount Vernon, Iowa, USA - JAN 24, 2016
Bomber at the Lincoln Wine Bar. Beautiful black pour, thin beige head. Deep, rich flavors, semi-sweet, smooth finish. Yum.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
crajun (1123) - , Texas, USA - JAN 14, 2016
UPDATED: JAN 15, 2016 2013 bottle. thanks to some great ratebeerian for the trade. aged for a couple of years. nice stout aroma with some dark fruits. palate a 4 not a 5. Taste was complex. This is a sweet stout, but never gets cloying; I am sure the 2-3 years of aging knocked out most of the hops. Taste has chocolate, small amount of dark fruits, licorice, and probably 6 more things... sweetness does get to you toward end of bottle; still a great stout!

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
ARH (1049) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 13, 2016
2015 vintage, 22oz bottle poured into a snifter. The aroma is a strong, sweet cherry and raisin combination with a slight leather and toffee undertone. As it warms, aromas of chocolate, candy citrus, and wood ash emerge. It pours an opaque caramel brown, topped by a dense brown, soft foam head that has light retention and sparse and dense - although a bit runny - even, sheet lace. The taste is highly sweet with a medium high bitter that strengthens late. The texture is just short of chewy, made smooth by a soft, fizz carbonation. The full body is flavored with a cherry, raisin, chocolate, and light smoke and leather character. The finish has a smokiness and a clean pin zip; first flavored y a sweet raisin and cola flourish with a smokey background and is subtly replaced by a stong, dry pine and dark coffee with bitter licorice after a brief time. The aftertaste has a cloying candy quality, then a dry, lightly astringent, chalky cleanliness with notes of smoke, pine / grass, coffee, and a toffee character that sneaks in late.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Kbierle (1) - - JAN 1, 2016 does not count
2015/2014 darkness side by side comparison Both poured in surly tulip shaped glasses purchased from the brewery. One taster did not know which was which. 2014 cellared in our basement cellar with temps that range between 50-65 degrees seasonally throughout the year. Visual: Both inky black in color. Thin lacy head on the 2014. The 2015 had better head retention - medium with fair amount of lacing. Both were a creamy tan color. Smell: 2014 lots of dark fruits, cherry, raisin, dark chocolate overlay. Toffee and caramel. 2015 malty, coffee notes. Bourbon vanilla Taste/mouthfeel: 2014 starts how it smells with the chocolate covered cherries. Develops in the mouth and more of a mocha. Booziness and coffee notes come out more as the beer warms. Lingering (long) mocha, chocolate finish. Big body and chewy mouthfeel. 2015: caramel and vanilla hit the palate first. Roasted malts, a slightly bitter dark chocolate hit next. Body is more medium. Does not have the booziness feel like the 2014 (is that from cellaring? Will compare next year). Medium to long finish with the vanilla coffee notes. Overall: 2014 is a fantastic example of a big bold boozy Russian imperial stout. Hard to find any fault in it. 4.75/5. 2015 is a good beer in its own right but next to the 2014 falls slightly short. Palate significantly different without the fruity flavors. Don’t know how much added complexity is due to a year in the cellar, but for drinking now about 4.25/5 We have a 2015 bourbon barrel aged darkness too that we have not yet opened. Excited to see what notes the bourbon barrel adds to the beer.

4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nsanders (888) - St Paul, Minnesota, USA - DEC 21, 2015
2015 Darkness on tap at Blue Door Pub. Black with no head. Chocolate milk, Hershey bars, light leather, light coffee and prune. Has a strong milk chocolate sweetness with a faint dry flavor. Heavier body with a smooth, creamy feel.

4.8
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
saltyseadog (17) - Des Moines, Iowa, USA - DEC 13, 2015
AROMA Expensive old fashioned sweets. Caramel, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, chocolate fudge. Smells very sweet. APPEARANCE Slightly spotty head with a nice caramel color and a thin head that burns away fast and just clings to the glass in a nice silky ribbon. TASTE Malty, chocolatey, a little roasty with a touch of bitterness. The alcohol burn arrives fashionably late just as the last roasty notes are fading. Great balance among all the different flavor elements. Not actually as sweet as it smells. PALATE Full bodied, thick and creamy, just enough carbonation to keep it from being heavy or syrupy. Nice long finish with a slow evolution of flavors that invites contemplation. OVERALL One of the most expensive beers I’ve ever bought. Fantastic even at $20/bottle. Lots of flavor complexity that changes and evolves as you work your way through the bottle. A nice long finish. Not as roasty or bitter as the name implies, or as sweet as the smell test suggests. Easy and pleasurable to drink. Pairs as well with beef jerky as it does with champignon brie. Hats off to Surly’s brewmasters. You’ve got a real winner here.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
johnnymusky (748) - Minnesota, USA - DEC 12, 2015
Waited to years to try this one...well worth it...nose was less than expected...not much to it...mouth the usual dark fruits,toffee,coffee and chocolate mix....really nicely done...awesome beer

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
gregwilsonstl (1709) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 12, 2015
2013 vintage. Dark black. Starts off hoppy. Somewhat tart in the middle. Very dynamic. Not boozy at all. Tasted at tims bottle share.

4.5
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Savage_Night (306) - California, USA - DEC 10, 2015
Pours black with a medium brown head. Head retention is good. Lacing is minimal. AROMA: dark rich roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, rasins, roasty, earthy, alcohol, toffee, herbal hops, soy sauce, spices, smoke/charcoal, woody, cherries/raspberries, vanilla, herbs, molasses, brown sugar, floral and dark stone fruit. TASTE: dark rich roasted malt, chocolate, coffee oil bitterness, rasins, spices, roasty, earthy, alcohol, toffee, soy sauce, smoke/charcoal, herbal hop spice, woody, slight tart cherries, vanilla, herbs, molasses, brown sugar, floral and dark stone fruit. AFTER TASTE: dark rich roasted malt, chocolate, rasins, spices and coffee bitterness with a rich boozy finish.


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