Old Growth Imperial Stout - Caldera Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Growth Imperial StoutOld Growth Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

70 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 70
Hads: 165
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 4.61%
Wants: 29
Gots: 34 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Caldera Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: freed on 03-01-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 165
Photo of BeerManDan
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured very dark brown, with a light amount of tan foam. The taste of smoke, chocolate and spice was evident in the flavor. Bitter on the finish, but, not overly bitter. (171 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle:
Pours decent thick black, with a significant dark tan head. The head lasts quite long into the pour and adds dark lacing to the glass.
Nose is a spicy roasted scent, heavy with licorice, but some molasses and perhaps even coffee notes. A very warm beer does give a light impression of band-aid, though.

Taste/feel is a tad astringent, but full of flavor depth, mouth coating cocoa, unsweetened chocolate, some licorice. Think a bit of alcohol comes through, even at somewhat modest 9%. Feel ends a tad chalky after the beer coats the entire mouth. Really bitter coffee, the aforementioned cocoa, just general dark bean tastes- there might be more underneath these, but I have trouble piercing it.

Enjoyed the depth of body in thus beer, even if the taste/feel was a tad chalky. It was a strange case of liking a few characteristics and being put off slightly by a few others. (891 characters)

Photo of wLcz0rz
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ivory black with a small mahogany head that reduces to nearly nothing. Smells roasted, malty, caramel/toffee, some spices I don't know. Rich full flavor, initial bitterness, burnt, roasted, espresso, very malty, slight sweetness, some chocolate, spices, finish is long lasting bready with traces of coffee. (306 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black in the glass with a small but pretty compact mocha head, at least for a while. Sticky lacing afterwards.
Really rich roasted malts, a bit smokey, with lots of dark chocolate, some black coffee and just hints of the added licorice. Dark spices and caramel too, hinting at chocolate cake (granted, a bit burnt).
Licorice is more alive in the taste, so are some cola notes and dark fruit, especially in the start. Some smoked prunes, light raisin, a bit of Morello cherries too, even some citrus peel. Roasted malts only follow, but are pretty rich, with really dark chocolate and burnt dark bread, kept "zingy" by the licorice. Black coffee notes in the finish, extra ashy malts and a nice herbal note too. Light caramel sweetness throughout.
And none whatsoever in the aftertaste. Just deep roast, some dark chocolate shaving, dusty cinnamon and the faintest bit of dark licorice. Medium body, low carbonated, smooth and a bit sticky.
The ashy finish really makes you wanna have another sip, and the nice licorice lacing makes up for the straightforward (even tho, kinda rich) roasted taste. A solid imperial stout, dark and deep. (1,135 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Old Growth doesn't look so much old as it does burnt - this charred black beer resembles less the tree on its label than it does the aftermath of a brush fire. Even its "head" is little more than a waning wisp of smoke. Of course, these are the qualities we expect from the style.

This Imperial Stout smells just how I like it: like espresso steeped in pine resin. And with a half a bar of top-grade, high cocoa content chocolate melted in there too. Heck, hints of dark honey, brown sugar, or even spices the likes of nutmeg or cinnamon are conceivable if one can make it past the tall order of roasted malts. It could distract the nose for hours.

The taste, like the aroma, is wicked good. Anyone on Weight Watchers, however, best stick to just smelling it - there's no way anything with this much rich, decadent, delicious flavour is low in anything. Here here! Be sure to bring a knife and fork - there's everything the dessert lover could ask for: fudge brownie, french vanilla crème brûlée, tiramisu, and a shot of espresso.

Not only that, however, there's a whole other, more earthy and savoury component that includes flavours of pine, spruce, and rosemary. It's not only rich as a cake it's also meaty as portobellos. Indeed, the most sensational imperial stouts are those that combine overt hoppiness with all the roasted, voluptuous, bittersweet maltiness. This one does so seamlessly.

Old Growth is a delicious enough I want to eat the glass when I'm finished with the liquid in it. This is exactly the kind of imperial stout I'd offer if I had my own brewery. It is luscious and rich yet, against all odds, still considerably approachable. I wish I had more! Oregon is home to some of the country's most outstanding brewers and clearly Caldera belongs there. (1,785 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high dark tan head that took a long time to die down, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of licorice are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of licorice along with notes of dark malts and hints of roast. There is a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite heavy on the licorice in both the smell and the taste, so if you don't like licorice you probably wouldn’t like this beer. It's rather drinkable as it manages to hide any traces of its alcohol rather well.

Serving type: bottle (781 characters)

Photo of timmy2b
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark Black color with a hazy brown lacing around the edge of the glass after the head settled.

Smell is a little boozy with some chocolate and some coffee hints.

Taste of chocolate, coffee and some fruit underneath that is a little tart, like cherries or berries.

Moderately heavy in the mouth but still fairly creamy and easy to drink. I expected it to be heavier from the ABV and the boozy scent.

Good representation of the style and a added bonus with the tart fruit. (475 characters)

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Dark brown, almoust black with a one finger high brown, fluffy, head.

Nose: Dark dry chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, licorice, milk chocolate, chocolate cookies - a LOT of chocolate here! Cocoa, red berries and some green apples deep down! Fat milk, plum and coffe beans. This is so complex! I could stay for hours just smelling this beer!

Taste: Espresso coffee, coffee beans, dark bitter chocolate, roasted notes, cacao, fudge, caramel, oak, a little bit of licorice and a dry bitterness.

Mouth: A full, complex body with a high bitterness. Creamy and very smooth.

I'm so glad I got this bottle - I love Imperial Stouts and this is one of the better I've tried. Highly recommended! (687 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in VT a few months ago, split with Goblinmunkey7

Consumed 5/20/14

Appearance: Dark, dark brown - pours with a medium sized, tan head, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Rich chocolate - dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate, cocoa, dark chocolate cookies, brownies - light sweetness, with some nice caramel, toasty - roasty with some light burnt - nice chocolate malts - decadent but not overwhelmingly beastly

Taste: Brownies and fudge in a blender - dark chocolate, milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, fudge, brownies, chocolate cookies - dark caramel, sweet caramel, with a touch of molasses - some nice roasty coffee notes as well - kind of sweet overall, but it works

Mouthfeel: On the heavy side of medium, smooth, adequate carbonation, roasty finish

Overall: Old... sensibilities

This is a no-frills RIS; no barrel aging, no coffee added, no weird stuff, nothing other than a straight-up RIS. And it's solid. There are some solid chocolate, lightly burnt, lightly roasty notes. I would definitely buy this again. I bet it would only get better with aging. (1,099 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to angrybabboon for sharing the bottle.

Appearance: Pours straight black. Head is thick, creamy, and dark khaki. Solid retention. Keeps a small clumpy andncreamy cap. Sticky notches of lacing. Thick pour.

Smell: Licorice and roasted malt. Burnt malts. A touch of caramelized malt. Super roasty. A touch of char. Some kind of dark fruit layered through the back. So much chocolate. Cocoa and milk and dark chocolate. Loaded with cocoa, like legit. Plum and cherry skin. Dark chocolate bar. Cocoa dusted cherries. A hint of coffee bean as well.

Taste: Mega roasty. A touch burnt with some char. Deep cocoa powder and baker's chocolate. Rich dark fruits. Some cherry and plum. A nice push of coffee bean. Some milk chocolate and something that reminds me of oats. Almost earthy and woody. Layers of chocolate and roast. Sweet balanced by the roast. Nicely complex.

Mouthfeel: Creamy medium tobfull body. Moderate carbonation. Smooth.

Overall: Like an old gnarled tree.

Just drink this. It's damn good and hits everywhere it needs to. Hope you like cocoa. (1,070 characters)

Photo of muffiewolf
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

If this was judged by looks alone it is a 5. Huge head and black as night. Considering this is 8.8% abv it is absolutely outstanding. Heavy chocolate but very smooth. These guys know what they are doing. If I hit the west coast I'm going to check their establishment out. These guys are on to something. Outstanding!! (317 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up from a great trade with Mike! Thick pitch black pour with a two finger caramel-colored head with nice retention and crazy lacing. One of the most eye appealing stouts I've had in a while. Big roasty nose with hints of chocolate fudge, coffee, black licorice, molasses, leather, toffee, cocoa, and nuts. The taste is rich and roasty with lots of chocolate fudge and fresh coffee up front along with hints of black licorice, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, cocoa, subtle pine, tobacco, caramel, and a touch of peat and smoke. The mouthfeel is incredibly thick, creamy, and mouth-coating with a subtle sweetness that balances the bitter hops nicely. Velvety smooth, dry finish. Overall, a hugely surprising beer. Beautiful to look at, rich and flavorful, and incredibly drinkable. Highly recommended! (810 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle, thanks Anthony. Poured into a Surly goblet today, 1/22/2014 as part of our cellar/extras cleaning tasting.

App- Pitch black body, viscous, 1cm tan head that recedes quite slowly. Not much lacing.

Smell- Coffee, milk chocolate, roast, toffee. Smells delicious

Flavour- Dark chocolate, black coffee, roast malts, lactose, no licorice but a strong earthy bitterness on the back end that could be attributed to licorice

Mouthfeel- Thick viscous body, creamy mouthfeel, well-done. Bitterness is almost unbearable though and makes it difficult to drink, definitely a sipper.

Overall- Very good beer that is hard to drink because it is too bitter on the backend. Otherwise it has a great body and aroma. (716 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Great looking stout. Ebony body with cola highlights. Firm, pillowy dark khaki head. Great retention and nice lace.

S - Soft chocolate, anise, pine sap, caramel, and Tootsie Roll.

T - Touch of anise up front before building into a deep roast grain center. Smooth chocolate, cream, and gingerbread on the back end.

M - Creamy, smooth, medium frame. Shade light on the finish.

O - Not a bad stout. Exceptionally creamy. If it had a little more body it would be a lot higher. (480 characters)

Photo of joeseppy
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick pour with an awesome shimmering deep black walnut with whipped cream density mocha head. This stuff has the propensity to stain your lips and glass.

Smell is deliciously inviting. Chocolate fudge, frosting, dark fruits, coffee and a hint of black licorice.

Tastes of light roast, coffee, chocolate licorice, anise and whipping cream.

This has Russian imperial written all over it. Full bodied, complex and voluptuous. Like letting a Hershey Kiss melt away in your mouth.

I don't say this to often but this double mash imperial is really underrated. Absolutely no bitterness or alcohol detected. On par with ten-fidy. If this were mainstream-fuggetaboutit! Bought this on a whim while passing thru Albany NY so I doubt I would see this again for a loooong time. Damn fine Imperial Stout that even Peter the Great would approve of! (839 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a black color with a brown head.

The aroma has dark chocolate, roasty malt, a bit of licorice.

The flavor follows with those notes, but with coffee and a sweeter chocolate. The licorice gently shines through, but does not overpower the beer. A really good beer that shows off how a gentle licorice can compliment an imperial stout.

A very good example of the style. (386 characters)

Photo of BVukelich
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm not a fan of licorice so when I brought it home and noticed "brewed with licorice" on the label I was a bit disappointed that I missed it. Surprise! This stout was pretty good. I wasn't overwhelmed with licorice at all.

Poured a decent head, lace was average upon drinking. Appearance was like pitch black, liquid gold. Aroma, taste and mouthfeel were all very decent. Not going to be my go-to imperial stout but highly likely to have again. Lesson be learned all...try new things! I would have never given this purchase a serious look if I would have noticed licorice. (574 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Thin opaque body, comes off very opaque black-brown looks like a glass if ink with an average tan head that rises to roughly 1/3".

Smell: Deep coffee bean scent, it's smells ridiculously well by disappears quickly. Comes and goes.

Taste: Bitter coffee with a shot of mocha. It's delicious taste simple and addicting.

Mouth: Medium bodied brew, feels a little lighter on the carbonation side. A body the has is a bit dry.

Overall: Not a bad beer but there is much better out there. I love imperial stout and have a particular liking to Russian imperial stouts, this one is good but not on the level of greatness as some other easier to find beers are. (699 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
3.23/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours out of the bottle very dark in color and yields a large brown head. The head hangs out for a long time, receding down to less than an inch of a cap on the beer, lacing minimally as it goes. 4

S: The aroma is roasty with some underlying chocolate. The roast is full bodied and the licorice tries to balance it out with sweetness I worry this is going to be a one-trick poney, however. 3.5

T: The taste, sadly, is the one-trick poney I feared. It's both roasty and sweet, with the sweetness well needed, but all of the flavors sort of exist together, without playing well together. I don't really get much more than a normal stout with some licorice thrown in and typically, I'm not a big licorice in beer fan. It's a good stout, just didn't stand out. 3

MF: The beer is thick and syrupy, but it's a little under carbonated for my preferences. The finish is the highlight of the beer for me, mouth-wateringly roasty. 3.5

O: This beer just didn't do anything special for me. Just an average imperial stout. 3 (1,027 characters)

Photo of Electros
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Blacker than black! Thick, creamy head.

S - Burnt coffee, chocolate, coal.

T - Fantastic, malt bomb! Chocolate, coffee, low hops, creamy taste!

M - Very light on the palate.

O - Would love to have this again... hint hint! LOL!

Thanks to me pal Evan! My father and I loved this! (286 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle thanks to EgadsBananas, appreciate it. Typical color for an imperial stout but the head was really nice looking, chocolate brown and huge in the snifter. Aroma was good, roasty imperial stout, a little oily with hints of chocolate and malt. The flavor was pretty typical for the style and solid. Alcohol was well hidden and my only complaint was that it seemed just a tad bit thin but that also made it go down fast! I liked it, this was probably the best Caldera beer I've had. (490 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the tap house in Ashland. It came in a quart jar filled from the tap. I drank it the next day.
Minimal head on a clearer brown body. It's a light color for a stout.
It smells like oak and caramel. Rich.
The taste is oaky and sweet with a touch of bitterness at the end.
Smooth texture with minimal carbonation and a medium body.
Pretty good and very drinkable for an imperial stout. (401 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich black color with a one finger khaki colored head. Tons of spotty lace down the glass.

S: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, anise and a touch of smoke. A touch of powdered cocoa as well.

T: Tons and tons of roasted malt, charred malt and unsweetened chocolate. A touch of smooth chocolate malt on the finish and some faint earthy hops. A super dark, bitter and roasts RIS. Pretty good stuff. (404 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big ups to ATLCarl for this bottle, a beer that's been languishing on my wants list for many months. After receiving the IPA as an extra in a trade (& being blown away) I wanted more Caldera. Now, finally. 22 oz. bomber split with my wife.

Pour is a shadow of its former self, literally. Peppy for a big stout, plenty of froth washing off the rocks. Nasal is classic RIS: a bit roasty, sweet malts, chocolatey. Lovely way to kick things off.

Old Growth is creamier than a melting Fudgesicle. There's a lovely roasted edge to this that slip-carves right into the stunningly creamy mouthfeel to create a stellar combination. The depths are subtle & not really necessary, but plenty welcome: licorice, mocha, roast slips right onto the line of coffee before fading back. But the cream really lights this one up, & everything else plays off it like Mel Gibson in Hamlet. Wait, no, actually, the exact opposite of that.

If this brewery was local to me, they'd be in my fridge. All. The. Damn. Time. I haven't had a sip of Caldera in a long time, & now I'm wondering why. Four beers, four excellent beers, hands down; this one borders on the elite. Straight-up excellent. (1,171 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into a tasting glass

Thanks to KeanLacrosse for the share

The body sits a midnight black with a small mocha colored cap. Some rings of lace inside the glass. Viscous body. Leaves a little bit of an oil slick when swirled.

The nose is big and bold. Molasses, licorice, dark (almost charred roast), dark cherries, bitter dark chocolate and some burnt caramel. The sweeter elements seem to emerge more as the beer warms.

Robust dark roast just pummels the palate. Molasses, licorice, and burnt caramel poke through mid-palate, before a finishing rush of coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, and some smoke/char.

Full body, rich and lush. However, there was this chalky feel/flavor that emerged in the finish. It was a little off-putting.

Overall, this is a damn fine Imperial Stout. I would definitely drink this again. (839 characters)

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Old Growth Imperial Stout from Caldera Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.