Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Craft Beer Crosscut 11.27.19: Flight of Dark Side Russian Imperial Stouts

Ron Swarner

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Beer flights in TacomaThere are tales of Peter the Great, the Russian Tsar who traveled to England in 1689 and said to have fallen in love with strong British porter, which is weird since the style didn’t truly exist for another 30-plus years. Whatever. Peter the Great likely did have some influence on the origination of Russian imperial stouts as his modernization of the Russian economy allowed for the importation of British goods, which included beer. Running through Friday, Nov. 29, the left side of Peaks and Pints’ Western red cedar tap log houses dark elixirs, including Russian imperial stouts, which is the focus of today’s beer flight, Craft Beer Crosscut 11.27.19: Flight of Dark Side Russian Imperial Stouts. The Russian imperial Stout is known for its rich maltiness and strength. In fact, these stouts can be quite intense, with varying amounts of roastedness and a range of sweet to bitter flavors. They’re most often characterized by a lingering malty finish that is warm, with port-like qualities.

Craft Beer Crosscut 11.27.19: Flight of Dark Side Russian Imperial Stouts

Black-Raven-Grandfather-Raven-TacomaBlack Raven Grandfather Raven

9.5% ABV, 70 IBU

In the creator role, and in the Raven’s role as the totem and ancestor, the Raven is often addressed as Grandfather Raven. With this stately sense of pomp and tradition we bring you our imperial stout. Black Raven Brewing Russian imperial stout is full with rich dark caramel notes, unsweetened chocolate, and hints of coffee aromas and flavors. Stately indeed, but at 9.5% ABV, perhaps it is just a vain attempt to encourage the trickster spirit to act respectably. NOTE: This is different from the bourbon barrel aged version, Great Grandfather Raven.

Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout

10.6% ABV, 70 IBU

Built from the backbone of Stone Brewing‘s classic Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout certainly celebrates the hallmarks of the style — it pours jet-black with a fluffy chocolate head and tastes of deeply dark fruit flavors with rich chocolate and coffee overtones. Yet, however old world in nature, this particular rendition of an IRS is flavored with new world hops, intensifying its berry flavors and aroma while subtly introducing a juicy melon undertone. The result is a spectacularly sinful delight. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, comrade.

Deschutes-2018-The-Abyss-TacomaDeschutes 2018 The Abyss

11% ABV, 74 IBU

Deschutes 2018 The Abyss barrel-aged Russian imperial stout is a deep, dark beer that uses Pale, Black, Chocolate, Black Barley, Roasted Barley, and wheat malts alongside Millennium, Nugget, Styrian, and German Northern Brewer hops. The beer also incorporates blackstrap molasses, brewer’s licorice, vanilla beans, and cherry bark, before it’s aged for 12 months in bourbon oak barrels for flavors of coffee, molasses, plum, hint of licorice and a little boozy chocolate.

North-Coast-Old-Rasputin-TacomaNorth Coast Old Rasputin

9% ABV, 75 IBU

According to legend, it took copious amounts of poison, three gunshots, a beating and a drowning to take down Grigori Rasputin. Fortunately, North Coast Brewing‘s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is more refined than its namesake and easier to drink than most of the imperials we’ve come across. Old Rasputin is a giant beer, true to style, with an alcohol content of nine percent by volume and a huge hop bitterness, thanks to Northern Brewer, Cluster and Centennial hops. Black as night and tasting of dark roasted malts and bitter chocolate, this is a complex, strong beer, both in flavor and alcohol content. Though slightly astringent, Old Rasputin finishes clean and refreshing.

Anderson-Valley-Huge-Arker-Bourbon-Barrel-Russian-Imperial-Stout-TacomaAnderson Valley Huge Arker Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout

13.5% ABV, 88 IBU

After primary fermentation, Anderson Valley Huge Arker Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout is aged in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels until it fully matures. Dark luscious aromas of burnished oak mingle with candy sugar, bourbon and hearth-baked bread. The luxurious flavors of honey and molasses intertwined with the richness of dark chocolate and the ardent warmth of alcohol, underpinned with hints of coffee, vanilla and dark fruits from the time spent in barrels.