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Barley's Alexander's Russian Imperial Stout - Barley's Brewing Company

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Barley's Alexander's Russian Imperial Stout
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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

64 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 64
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 3
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Barley's Brewing Company visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 32
Photo of 17acresoforganichops
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeah, that's right, I gave this brew a perfect score.
I've been in 15 countries, had beers from several more as imports, and have measured every single one against Barley's Alexander's Russian Imperial Stout over the last 16 years. The truth is this particular brew was what I was looking for for years before I found it.
What does it compare to? Your first love.
Now, the high street location usually has a more robust finish than the Riverside Drive batches, but I'll bet I'm one of only a handful that would even notice. I prefer the High street version but the truth is either hits all the right spots....so I just pretend I'm dating twins and don't notice.
Years ago I would turn friends on to this brew bit I quit doing that because it seemed to not be as available after I gave away a few growlers to friends and I think I made some competition...so, coming from a palate that can discern Osetra, Sevruga, or Beluga, an eye that has found diamonds in Ohio waterways, this lone brew has been more satisfying than marriage.

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The most excellent Russian Imperial Stout from Barley's is worth the trip. Dark black with a solid head of tight beaded bubbles with good lacing. Coffee and chocolate on the nose with hints of crème brulee. Subtle coffee and bitter sweet chocolate up front, lots going on here. Crème brulee and chocolate in the aftertaste sprinkled with coffee. More aggressively hopped than in the past, but far from overly bitter keeping within the flavor profile of a RIS. One of the most memorable beers I have ever had that keeps me coming back to Barley's on my voyages up to Wooster Ohio. Enjoyed in a snifter.

Photo of brew3crew
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- black body with a tan head that sticks around for a long time.

S- roastiness and a little bit of chocolate

T-follows the nose. Roasty little bit of chocolate. Kind of bland.

M- medium body and smooth

O-good beer. Was hoping for more but it was still solid

Photo of misfit1034
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from standard pint glass on site as their cask selection. Very dark appearance which is typical for Russian Imperials with a very nice burnt cream head that lingered almost to the bottom of the glass. Smell was above average for an Imperial Stout with hints of wood and heavily roasted malts. Taste was, for me, very good for an RIS and was very smooth. As I am not really an RIS guy, but do enjoy stouts overall, I would say that this is a good example of the style but don't think I would be able to drink this very often unless I was pairing it with something very sweet to balance the bitter roasted characters...

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.27/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Looks real nice. Plenty of head with decent retention. It allows lots of lacing. The beer is obviously black with only a little bit of light coming through on the edge.

S- Smells a lot like just about every beer from them Ive ever had only a little more roasty. It isnt that big in your face smell of coffee chocolate roast and all that stuff you want in an imperial stout. There is a lot of grain with moderate roast. Its pretty weak here.

T- A little better but its still very much like all their other beers. This isnt really exploding with imperial flavors. A little bit of dark fruits, licorice, roast but mostly lots of grains.

Im a little disappointed. Ive had this before. It seems to have been better in the past. I like it on cask.

Photo of rabsten
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap following the Crew game.

Pours dark brown-to-black -no real surprise there - with lighter brown, large bubbled head that quickly evaporated. Some lacing but not much. I suspect there's sanitizer on the glasses here as this was the story all night.

Roasted malt and coffee in the nose, on the palate, and in the finish. Dry mouthfeel (which I've been enjoying lately, so my results may be a bit skewed). Decent to good drinkability.

This R.I.S. probably won't be winning any awards but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it. A good, solid beer, worth picking one up if you're in Columbus.

Photo of buschbeer
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I purchased a growler at Barley's yesterday. It came in a clear growler. It is black and when poured into a glass it produces an inch of brown head. The aroma has your usual suspects, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. The taste is coffee and maybe some chocolate. I also get some faint hops. This is a nice thick beer. I'm on my second glass from my growler, and the drinkability is pretty nice. It is a solid beer. It's not a real stand out, but it is a good beer to drrink on a rainy 48 degree day.

Cheers!

Photo of jrallen34
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I drank this on tap into a tasting glass.

The beer is a nice black with light brown in the light. The head is very nice, about 2 fingers high of medium tan heat that is just beautiful. It is full and creamy and lasts forever with nice lacing.

The aroma is light and sweet with chocolate, vanilla, toffee and caramel.

The taste is all malts, very very sweet, too sweet for me without it being balanced out by some nice hops at the end. Sweet chocoloate dominates the taste and you can also pull out some vanilla.

The feel is too light decently drinkable.

Photo of joepais
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bb8189 for sending this brew my way.
Spit it among friends in tulip glasses, the beer produced a nice finger of tan head on a black body brew.

The aroma was nice subtle roasted malt with a light chocolate note in the finish; there was no notice of the alcohol at all in the nose.
I must say that this was an easy brew to drink. The flavor was roasted malts but not to astringent to dry out your mouth. I enjoyed the balance of the sweetness that came from the malts as well. One person pointed out the British yeast flavor reminiscent of a Samuel Smith's but a ton better in my book. It had a medium to full feel in the mouth with good carbonation for the style.

It was an easy beer to session the alcohol was unnoticeable. I easily finished my two pours. If it was my local brew house I be proud of this one for sure

Photo of adamette
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Brewery last night. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Very appropriate, completely black body under a slight medium brown head. It looked like a glass of black ink.

S The darkest of the dark malts with some hops.

T Deep, dark malt with a sting of alcohol. All of that is expected and appropriate to the style.

M Thinner than the "pint of black ink" would suggest but this is a heck of a huge beer with high ABV (not listed but I would not be surprised if it were 10%) and deep, dark malt tastes.

D One and done for sure but that is what is intended with this style.

Notes: A nice RIS that I was not expecting from this well balanced Brew Pub in Columbus, Ohio.

Photo of hopdog
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler acquired in trade with mcallister (thanks!).

Poured a dark brown color with an averaged to larger sized tan head. Aromas of roast, light chocolate, some smoke, vanila, and coffee. Tastes follow suit. Bitter coffee finish. Body on the thin side. Lacing left on the glass. I actually found this to be on the weaker side for an Imperial Stout and would have pegged this one as a Stout.

Notes from 2/16/07

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice to taste an RIS on cask. This one, though black and ominous in appearance with a lasting brown head, was a bit light and low in booze for an RIS. The aroma, likewise, contained all the right elements, charcoal, roasted malts, coffee, hints of vanilla and chocolate, etc..., but it did not have enough of them. Flavor matches the nose but with the addition of some dark fruit but is equally light. Still, this is a good beer and a pleasure to drink on cask.

Photo of blakesell
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the cask into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pulls jet black with a proper thick creamy tan head half a finger thick. Head lingers thick across the top for the duration of the beverage. Lacing clings and won't be letting go anytime soon.

Smell- Roasty and smoke laden with little hop and hints of yeasty esters. Anise, roasted non-malted barley, and slight chocolate malts.

Taste- Creamy and thick with the cask signature flavour. Roast malts, caramel cream, espresso, hops are strong and detectible, this is one complex beer. Some flaked oats, massive body, slightly burnt and buttery.

Mouthfeel- Full-bodied, creamy, flavorful, roasty, not carbonated, sticky, and lightly warming.

Drinkability- Smooth and creamy, somewhat warming, not too hot on the tongue. Swell drinkability.

Photo of jdoncbus
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From cask into shaker pint glass, slightly below room temp. Pours a motor oil black with a tan, two-finger head accompanied with heavy lacing.

Mild smell though my nasal passages are a dry but can make out french roast beans, earthy-toasted malt, and woody vanilla.

The first taste on the palate is sour and woody, followed by cinnamon, vanilla-coffee, and rounded out with a mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy and smooth. The oily feel soon gives way to a warm-alcohol, dryness.

A very enjoyable RIS and will certainly have another; added bonus coming from their cask.

Photo of genog
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling for a second time with a fresh batch from this great local brewpub. Had it the first time at Barleys #2. Last night had this at Barleys #1 downtown.

Pours a thick black color with a creamy light brown dark brown head. With a simple swirl of the glass the head swirls around into a milky way pattern. Smell is sugary, molasses, toffee, some burnt malt and roasted coffee beans. Taste is smokey at first, then a bitter hop and roasted coffee finish. Mouthfeeling is outrageously creamy with a little warming presence.

Photo of Risser09
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a pint glass

Appearance: Very deep dark brown (ahem, black) with very little head. The lacing that is there is a tan color.

Smell: Dominant aromas are coffee and roasted malts. Not much other aroma that I can point out.

Taste; Wow. Coffee at first, roasted black malt, molasses and candi sugar. This beer is not incredibly complex but it is powerful with flavor and alcohol. The flavors eventually lose some steam and I drink on but the initial shock is great for a RIS lover like myself.

Mouthfeel: I think this is where the beer could improve. The body of it is just not thick enough to warrant a great score. I'd prefer it not to be so watery. The alcohol jolt is warming and pleasant, but I should have ordered this after my meal.

Drinkability: Poor, considering the alcohol, but I could have a few and be on my way in no time. This is a quality brew, but I could find better for $4.50 a pint.

Photo of Dansting
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler from the brewpub. Poured a dark purplish-brown color with a thick light-brown head. Strong lacing. Nice aroma with a blend of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. Flavor is smooth, with a nice malt taste and a coffee-like finish. A very nice offering from Barley's.

Photo of Grundle20
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:
Arrived to my table coffee black with some scattering foam on top. There was minimal lacing from the residual head.

Smell:
The beer was rich with scents of bittersweet chocolate and cherry cordials. There was an underlying buttery biscuit note that I picked up on the tail end of the smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The bittersweet chocolate taste has morphed into a full on flavor of cherry cordials upon first taste. The beer is thick and slightly "chalky" but rolls over your palette and coats your mouth with various chocolate notes. There's a slight bitter alcohol astringency but I'm assuming that's do to the ABV which I've been told is around 12%. The beer finishes with some more of those chocolate notes, not particularily clean but tasty none the less.

Drinkability:
I'm basing this off my information that this beer is 12%, with that said it's a little too strong and full flavored to really be a good drinking beer. I really enjoyed it's taste and loved it with my meal, but it would be a struggle for me to finish off a Friday night with this beer.

Bottom Line:
A fine stout to compliment their already great line up of beers. They also offer up plenty of acceptable food pairings so the beer deffinately has a place on their taps.

Photo of GimpyCane
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drove into Columbus and stop at Barley's for a microbrew. Had the pleasure of ordering their Alexander's Russian Imperial Stout. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and dug right in. The aroma was heavenly, blast of roasted chocolate malt and a hint of burnt caramel. The taste was robust with the same complex and balance of roasted elements, sweet, medium body, soft carbonate and nice low content of alcohol. The appearance was as expect from a RIS, black and small mocha head. What I mostly liked about this brew was the low level of alcohol at 7% ABV. Don't get me wrong I love Stone's RIS intensity but this was a different approach and a welcome one. If your in the Columbus, Ohio area stop in at Barley's and enjoy their brews, it's a plus.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had 1/2 pint from the Barley's booth at the Columbus Microbrew Festival 2006. It was a nice black color but there wasn't much head. I like a thick chocolate milk foam on my RIS, but I guess it depends on pour as well as beer. The smell and taste were dominated by roasted malts, but there were small amounts of chocolate and sweet malts. But mostly roasted. A little light in body maybe but still a good beer.

Photo of Osiris9588
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Bell's pint glass from a Barley's Smokehouse/Ale House #1 growler. Opaque black coffee with a chococlate milk head, about one inch thick, without much retention and slight lacing.

Full flavor of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, a touch of cherry, cocoa powder, and a flash of rum. Pretty light on the front palate, then the malt asserts itself, follwed by just a buzz of coffee bitterness before smoothing into a finale of chocolate-covrered cherry sweetness and alcohol.

A very drinkable stout, balanced and not overbearing in any aspect. It is not bottled, so be sure to grab one when in Columbus.

Photo of mcallister
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black, very inky. Light penetration does not exist. Quarter inch mocha head fades into a ring around the beer.

Sweet dark roasted malt, anise, unsweetened dark chocolate, hints of coffee, with a vanilla twist, as well as other dark fruit esters.

Textbook! This is a solid RIS. Deep & masculine, with a huge roasted chocolate malt, dark fruits galore, anise, black cherry, with a coffee finish. Some hops also show on the finish to balance out the roasted malt flavors. Creme de brulee and vanilla bean also fester in the background.

Rich creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Photo of trep
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thick black, but not completely opaque. Creamy tan head as suspected that is very quaint.

Roasted malt and chocolate, and some funkiness. A little alcohol as well.

A nice smokiness to start things off that fades into roasted malt and dark chocolate. Very smooth and some hints of vanilla to fill in the gaps. Finishes incredibly smooth, creamy, and rich. Some pleasant woodiness. Not super complex, but the beer is nicely balanced.

Medium/Full body which appropriate carbonation. Not thick and flat, and not thin and highly carbonated. A nicely balanced RIS that isn't overpowering. I have finished an entire growler on my own on several occasions.

Photo of mentor
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Growler provided by justcas as part of BIF33. Super-huge treat..thanks a million! Pours a strong one finger brown head over a pitch liquid. Thinnest edge of brown when held to light. Smells coffee and caramel. Dark chocolate and molasses. Some black patent cherry sour and a bit ashey.

Tastes creamy smooth with rich dark coffee, caramel and chocolate. Wow, that was malty sweet delicious. Has a taste like a marshmallow that I let burn a while after catching aflame in the campfire. Vanilla and chocolate. Slightly woody hops, not quite fuggles..perhaps willamette? There is a drying carb on the tongue late that keeps the beer from sticking. Milky smoothness about it, this beer is delicious...fill my pint again and again. Like a quality milk chcolate bar.

Super thick mouthfeel sticks. Some dryness from the roast helps out, but the beer is a bit too sticky for a summer night (this could be great in the winter). Alcohol sting is present, but refreshing. Moderate carbonation supports the style.

Photo of briants
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark with ample dark tan head that lasts.

Smell: Wonderful roasted aroma. Slight sweetness hinting at the taste

Taste: Rich roasted flavor with a good sweetness to balance the biotterness of the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: A rich beer, but not quite as rich as the color and style would have you think.

Drinkability: What is lost in mouthfeel is balanced by the drinkability. Easy to drink as its not as heavy as similar Imperial Stouts, but I'd be hesitant to have more than a couple and even think of driving home.

Overall I think this is the best beer if theirs that I had. Its rich flavors and balanced sweetness make it quite a nice winter beer.

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Barley's Alexander's Russian Imperial Stout from Barley's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.