Pdubyah (108) - Auckland, - DEC 15, 2012
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
The taste does not disappoint, a lovely rich set of flavours, with length and depth, and just the right amount of carbonation. I could wax eloquent about this for a while. This is a little bit of magic in a bottle.
gam (2662) - brisbane, AUSTRALIA - MAR 30, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Decent biege head dark pour soft medium carbonation aromas yeast dark fruit coffee caramel the flavours plum port wine dark fruit coffee roast chocolate medium to strong bitter dried fig liquorice creaminess the finish good tastes lovely sweetness and bitter aftertastes roasted flavour that lasts alcohol good imperial
Beersiveknown (1617) - NORTHERN IRELAND - JAN 26, 2013
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle at home from Regional wines
Dark ruby brown-black with molasses and tobacco notes. Smoky dark chocolate, dried fruit, full bodied, low carbonation, invert sugar sweetness, alcohol burn more dubbel than impy stout though with enough malt astringency to curb the fruit esters though would have preferred a different yeast be used. Dried cranberries, treacle a hint of licorice, black pepper. Constantly developing challenging complex brew, 300ml more than enough.
Jimthechap (1195) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - SEP 15, 2012
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
I doubt I could follow a review so loquacious as my esteemed colleague Cantabrian as eloquently. I shall have to do my best, provided the beer warrants it of course.
This beer is black with port notes in the dimple of the glass. A head sits on top like the crema of an espresso with miniscule bubbles appearing and disappearing before me until the head sits as a skim across the body with lace slinging to the sides of the glass. The first impression of the aroma is of chocolate and Dutch cocoa. This is reminiscent of Belgian dubbels I have had in the past and rewarding chocolate stouts. Does it smell Russian? I would argue it doesn’t have the depth and rich molasses of it’s Russian parent. What else could I get from poking my nose in? Suggestions of licorice, maybe some green herbs and not a lot of dessert spice. Don’t get me wrong, it smells good. But it doesn’t have complexity of aroma. Beef broth seems to appear on second nosing.
At first taste it is full bodied, oily and has a silky texture. A morass of slow moving chocolate and treacle with a pinch of dark chocolate when you have chewed it bitterness. Flavours of dates and burnt caramel are present adding subtlety to the blend of flavours. The finish is there, but how long it lasts has to be seen: after a few minutes the flavour is as it feels initially but greatly lessened. I doubt it would stand up over a longer period of time than what I allowed for it.
I can see the blend of styles, I can appreciate the intent, I enjoyed the beer. I have had some truly spectacular Russian Stouts but this sits below them on my league ranking. A tasty drop and maybe I’ll buy a bottle or two and see how it ages.
Cantabrian (381) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - AUG 16, 2012
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I could just picture a Belgian monk taking a ship to the Northeast and hitting the Baltic, heading towards the Russian Empire. How naïve to think that such encounter between opposing factions would result in any harmony. I sniggered with scepticism, as probably would the whole Russian Orthodox Church have, from the hordes of the lowest deacons to the primate, shaking his generous beard as he giggled from his gilded chair in Romanov Moscow. “Zar”! I laughed again and had a go. Well, to start with, the appearance was rather sober. Not the brown Spartan sobriety of a Belgian Augustine ascetic, but proudly black, as the feathers of the double-headed eagle, from the times of Alexander II. A well-carbonated weedy head was soon dissolved into the oily darkness of the glass. The nose only gave me the indication of Russian needs: strong, alcoholic aromas, yes wine – perhaps sweet as a spiced/mulled wine or a gløgg/ glögg, that the Belgian monk picked up along the way – leathery scents, with raisins, and Baltic brine, with very little chocolate. It was so much of an Imperial Stout that I thought the said monk had been lynched and burned by the crowd, under the cold complacency of the of the local Russian monastery. The first taste, however, was an avalanche of old fruits from a moist barn, malty and yeasty. There he was, the toothless Belgian monk, not incinerated, but indecently guffawing at me and crossing himself with five fingers, from left to right. This was getting really complicated, I mean, complex. A fabulous complexity! Back to the flavour, the next sip was again briny and resinous as the taiga, pungent and salty, chalky as the ashes of the burnt monk, challenging me to crack the mistery. And so it went, flavours hopping across the schism, with a long stark finish lingering in the palate, reminding me of the battle and all its details. The beer is full-bodied and complex as the meeting between the monk and the Empire could have been. There will be no harmony there, but harsh words and fire. Very stimulating! Lovely surprise!