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Old Growth Imperial Stout - Caldera Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Growth Imperial StoutOld Growth Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

70 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 70
Hads: 167
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 7.28%
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: 167
Photo of bitterthebetter
4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 VINTAGE

found this delicious glory at Bailey's Taproom.

pours an absolute opaque oil black with tannish head. it just looked so enticing with its murkiness and darkness. by the color i knew i was in for a treat

rich rich malty aroma with caramel, roasty notes, chocolate, slight pepper, interesting floral notes, and i think licorice, slight dried figs or raisins, and candied sugars

BOOYA! on the palate. rich rich rich plethora of flavors begin the symphony of beer and endure for minutes. a rich coating of more bittersweet chocolate upfront, followed by semi-dry roasted notes, coffeish notes, hints of hot pepper, faint raisins, mildly floral notes which i couldnt place but are definetly there, and slight candied sugar notes on the finish.

super smooth and balanced with a medium weight, the beer just absolutely coats the mouth with layers of goodness. its hard to get all the nuances at once but man is there a lot to enjoy. balanced all the way through, not too sugary or dry, and the flavors just meld seamlessly together with every sip tasting different than the last, and no trace of the alcohol

amazing stuff, truly, one of the more memorable stouts I've had in a long time, with layers of flavor mixing together to create a textured, balanced, nuanced, and super smooth stout. i wish i had had the patience to drink it room temp. cause I'm sure even more goodness could be discovered, but alas, i enjoyed every second of the beer and if you see it on tap, order it (1,491 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Founders tulip...

I love everything from these guys and I've read good things about this brew so I'm excited to get to try it...

Huge pungent wallop of dark strong coffee, cocoa nibs, hints of licorice and perhaps a little citric hop as well... Holy smokes...this smells terrific...I'm a bit taken shocked that this is so dark and rich smelling... World class...

Rich deep smooth smokiness mingles with dark bitter chocolate and licorice... The smoky aspects of this set this one apart from others of the style and have me hooked... There's also a big hop presence to this that has me thinking chocolate covered orange or something of that nature.. One thing that I'm really digging is the lack of sheer alcohol present here both in the ABV and the flavor... It's nice to be able to drink the whole bomber and not be blurry at the end...

This is a world class RIS in my opinion... I could expound with adjectives and adverbs and all the fluff but I'll say its one of the most enjoyable drinking experiences I've had... Not over the top in any way... Delicious and expertly crafted... (1,103 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma is absolutely heavenly - smoky with firm tones of quality coffee, molasses and sweet chocolate and a hint of licorice. It pours a deep, rich, warm opaque sable with a thick dark tan head that leaves some good lacing. Mouth filling flavor has a decided mocha core, quality coffee and chocolate plus licorice, molasses and even a bit of hoppy bitterness. Smooth flavor has a firm and biting fizz, and it leaves a smoky, slightly bitter, tingly finish. If ever you are in Oregon, grab a bottle - or better yet, grab two or three so you have something to trade. (563 characters)

Photo of kitty66
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Delicious full bodied stout with all the trimmings. Leather, wood, tobacco, sugary fruit.

The nice thing about Old Growth is that you can savor the "mature" end of the taste spectrum without having to be knocked out by a 12%+ abv.

Caldera's move into the richer end of the spectrum is exciting, looking forward to their future beers !

This beer is a great seasonal, not trying to dethrone abyss, but a great addition to the fall/winter lineup. (447 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 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 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 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 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 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 Halcyondays
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a medium frothy tan head, good retention, solid lace.

S: Dark chocolate with some creaminess and roast.

T: Dark chocolate flavours dominate with a hint of coffee. Some sweet malt, but stays balanced with a solid hit of hops on the back end. Never overly burnt which is as it should be in an RIS.

M: Full-bodied and very smooth, soft easy carbonation. Elegant.

O: This is classic American made RIS style beer to a T. It's weird, it seems the regular RIS is going away, everything has to be barrel aged or have some adjunct added to it. That's all well and good. But sometimes you just want a big straight up stout and this delivers. $10 for the bomber is pricey, but it's a great beer, definitely the best I've had from Caldera. (767 characters)

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bottle split with onix1agr and poured into duvel tulips.

A- a firm pour yields almost three fingers of coffee and cream colored head holds for a good bit then settles slowly leaving behind a big swath of chunky sticky lace and a big seam foam ring on top with a big island of suds. Down right black body with just the faintest of brown glows at the edges when held to bright light.

S- big bold dark roasted malts and a deep molasses sweetness. There some anise and coffee going on that reminds me of new orleans chicory coffee.

T- yup that a big ole stout. Opens up with a powerful punch of super dark roasted malts that give you a lot of dark bakers chocolate, coffee, blackstrap molasses and dark breads. The roast and sweet are well balanced and a solid earthy hopping blend smoothly in with the rest. Finish is long and roasty but not heavy or overbearing in any way.

M- full bodied with a bit of chew to it but not sticky or cloying and the carb while staring out light builds just enough to clear the palate and get you going back for more quickly. Touches of heat but its a welcomed heat.

O- this is a great ris and one that is cruzing well under the radar. Better then a lot of those hyped up beasties and super easy to enjoy. I'd like to get a few of these and lay them down for a bit. (1,306 characters)

Photo of lowendfrequency
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz of 2010, poured the whole thing into a massive snifter. Pours dark, deep and inky black. Small 1/4" of light beige head, infinitely replenished by a steady stream of healthy carbonation.

The aroma is a complex blend of coffee, toasted wood, dark cocoa, burnt sugars and something like raisins and rum. Exactly how a beer called "Old Growth" should smell.

Bold. This is a big bold beer and yet is incredibly balanced. Flavor is of chocolate, licorice, burnt marshmallows, coffee and Dr. Pepper (I mean that in the best way possible). None of these are subtle but they all compliment each other without any one stealing the show. Appropriately bitter, solid booze with a syrupy finish.

This was a great beer and totally unexpected. Big and balanced, a great nightcap or cigar beer (blasphemy!). Enjoyable now or ready to cellar. Highly recommended. (858 characters)

Photo of jeff1973
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

A - Opaque black. Nothing getting thru, not even on the edges. Dark biege head, good lacing.

S - Roasted malt. A slight smokiness. A little bit of dark chocolate and a little licorice.

T - Bitter chocolate upfront turns to slightly smokey. Leaves a bit of licorice flavor for the end. Not an overpowering licorice flavor, just a hint to make you want more.

M - Medium carbonation produces a not quite smooth feel. Is almost smooth a description? It works either way. Leaves a slight tingle afterwards that works with the licorice aftertaste.

D - Definitely a sipper. Has a thicker mouthfeel that doesn't allow gulping. With the 8.8%ABV, really tastes almost no alcohol.

Great beer. Period. (735 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draught at Bailey's, the 2009 Old Growth Imperial Stout is black with a tan collar that leaves light, scattered lace.

Smell is big on the caramel, honey, sweeter for a stout, but clearly one nevertheless. The lavender creeps out a bit as it warms, although this was so delicious, I didn't give it much chance to do so!

Taste is big, loads of complexity of this one, all the adjuncts combine with the chocolate and roast flavors of the malt to remind me of a really fancy truffle. I particularly enjoyed the lingering taste of the pink peppercorns. For so much complexity from the adjuncts, none of them are over done. Smooth, clean,well executed and exceptionally good.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium-light bodied, surprisingly, but not in a thin way, just not thick and heavy.

Drinkability is good, this is a really nice RIS, super unique. Crazy flavorful, yet smooth and dangerously drinkable. I'm really digging the lavender the most, I can picture myself in Brussels's Grand Plaza eating fancy chocolate, awestruck. Probably not their intention, but a nicely played invocation nevertheless! (1,099 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Snagged a 12 oz. snifter of this elusive brew at Bailey's Taproom; this is the 2008 edition.

A: Crude oil blackness topped with a thin nutmeg orange head. Any head fades away to the thinnest circling ring, lace droops in slim bands and scattered speckles.

S: Malty sweet nose of fudgy chocolate, mild vanilla, candied fruit and a vague woodiness. Intriguing floral aroma, perfumed with lavender.

T: Big chocolate and an astringent coffee roast hit right upfront; sweeter notes of vanilla, even maple syrup, follow. Lots of grain, mild fruit (say, earthy blackberries?), and a fair amount of piney woodiness. LOVE the spiced honey flavor!

M: Lots of grit and grain fill the mouth, stick on the teeth. Imagine a cup of French Press coffee, how it sticks... That's the Old Growth way. Otherwise, a smooth carbonation and velvety mouthfeel. Long-lasting bittersweetness.

D: A hefty mouthful of darkness with each sip. Enjoyable, certainly a beer I'll have again. The guys at the Taproom were saying the 08 is great but that the 07 was incredible; note to Caldera: can this beer. Please. (1,088 characters)

Photo of nickfromsacto
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had Pliny the younger, elder, Parabola and old growth in one night. Younger lived up to the hype. Parabola and elder are staple favorites (always good). Amongst these behemoths Old growth not only surpassed my expectations but set a bar for (none Deschutes, Hair of the dog & Rogue) Oregon beers. Thanks random beershop dude in Seattle. 

The head is nothing worth bragging about nor is the typical black body of most imperial stouts. The head lingers for a while as you smell some chocolate and roastyness. A few hints of cocoa and fig are mixed with smooth alcohol tones. The mouthfeel is incredible, a nice full body that does not overwhelm the other senses. Perhaps the best beer find durring my trip. Worth the ten bucks for this rare aged beer. (753 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a 3 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a small cap. A nice latticework of lacing forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, and alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and cocoa powder. A mild roasty bitterness sticks around after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good RIS with a nice balance of aromas and flavors. This one took me by surprise. (509 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 Derek
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8.8% abv.

A: Black with a tan head, ring of retention leaves a little lace.

S: Light licorice, black strap molasses, black berry and hints of biscuit & nuts.

T: Pleasant licorice flavour that's not overdone, allowing some other flavours to come through: black strap molasses, woody/oak, cocoa, light pepper, caramalized raisins, hints of coffee and rum. There's some underlying cola and sasparilla flavour as well. Alcohol is subtle.

M: Moderate to full body has a light residual sweetness with a slightly drying finish.

D/O: It drinks well, and I wouldn't have guessed it was that strong. Well crafted and an all around good brew. The flavours really compliment one-another... the more I drink it, the more I dig it... which says a lot for a big brew! (758 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2011 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a very dark red brown, appearing black in the glass. Thin dark tan head and some light lacing. Sweet and roasted malt, honey and slight floral notes to aroma. Taste follows with sweet and roasted malts, a mellow sweetness followed by coffee and chocolate notes, finishes with a mixure of dry and sweet, hop bitterness, light woody finish. Nicely integrated. (428 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle split with oglmcdgl.

Old Growth in the Duvel tulip appears black in color with a firm inch of tan/khaki colored foam that is dense and leaves some spots, great retention.

Smell is ridiculous in the malt category, roasted malt on top of char, some faint dark fruits and some aroma hops. Licorice and anise make up the rest of the smell.

Not so over the top, a very well balanced stout with a mix of roast on top of a bed of dark fruit, chocolate chips, anise and of course licorice. Faint vanilla bean and just good beer here.

Feel is semi sticky full and not hot. It's not the biggest stout out there at almost 9% and I like that, to many 13 percenters that go overboard. Carb is there and not so intruding. Chewy.

This is a kick ass stout. I wanted to see what Caldera could do on their dark offerings as their light ones are top notch and this did not dissapoint. (879 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 tdm168
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with 1/2" of foamy, brown head. Great retention. Smells of roasted malts, a little coffee, and a little chocolate. Taste is similar to the nose in some respects but far more complex. Deep roasted malts and hint of coffee up front followed by a rich chocolatiness in the finish; just a hint of alcohol esters in there as well. A few more sips reveals a little toffee and some dark fruits; alcohol becomes more prevalent as the beer warms but doesn't detract from the flavor or drinkability. Mouthfeel is smooth, rich, and surprisingly, dangerously drinkable. (575 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)

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