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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.

71 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 71
Hads: 169
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 14.43%
Wants: 30
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: 71 | Hads: 169
Photo of russwbeck
3.23/5  rDev -21%
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

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Imperial stout = dark beer, no different here, its black. Foam about 3/4" deep, tan, light brown colored, hits the bricks right quick sucka.

Coffee absent in the aroma, otherwise, chocolate malt, light boozy in a good way, warming, hides abv relatively well, no coffee to it still on the mouthfeel. Sticky, bitter, low carbonation. About 1/100th of the smoke they put in rauch ur bock. Plenty chewy. Maybe some licorice.

Pretty good stuff. What a bummer mine followed a Mogli. Tough act to follow, but would not heitate to recommend this beer, just like 99% of the rest of Caldera's stuff.

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Photo of youradhere
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, with amber edges; light tan head that quickly falls to leave decent lacing. Smell is faint chocolate and stale coffee, smokiness. Taste is better, slight sweet chocolate, slight coffee, and minimal smoky oak, almost salty at times. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation is medium high, overall drinkability is good for a light stout. Not something I'd seek out again, certainly wouldn't refuse it if offered.

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Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Viscous fluid that is pitch black in color. An attractive 2+ fingers of mocha colored head forms and had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass. This beer is a real looker.

The aroma is great too. Roasted malt with notes of chocolate, smoke, coffee, dark fruit, and some herbal qualities. Alcohol is not detected.

The flavor was a bit of a letdown compared to what I had previously expected. A little astringent and rough. There is a biting bitterness that is not very pleasant. I can still pick out some chocolate and coffee notes. Finishes a little chalky. Alcohol is well disguised with just a light warming affect.

Big bodied and nicely carbonated. Smooth, silky texture. The only fault is that is falls off the palate a little quick.

This beer was not successful where it counts the most. Otherwise an impressive RIS.

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Photo of nsabo
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is not a heavy or chewy imperial stout (which is what I usually look for in a RIS), but the mouthfeel still feels hearty. It’s quite roasted, not burnt, just a damn smooth, no booze heat, well done roast. Reminds me a lot of Grand Teton’s Black Cauldron (which happens to have nearly the same under 9% ABV). The nose is coffee and graham crackers. Despite the label's indication of licorice, I'm not picking up on it much at all.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

This beer pours a blackness with a beige foam head. The smell while not greatly profound does carry notes of blackened malts and bitter coffee. There is a touch of licorice in the nose as well. The taste mostly reminds of a bad cup of coffee. There is a distinct coffee flavor but mostly it's backed up by a burnt char flavor that lasts into the aftertaste. There is a nice medium sticky mouthfeel to the beer as well. It's drinkable, but only as it warms to room temperature. The only bitterness that I really can't get past is a burnt bitterness and it's pretty palatable in this beer and is really the only reason I was not too fond of it.

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Photo of vkv822
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into snifter.
2011 vintage.
from notes.

Pours black with a thick mocha colored head that dissipates fairly quickly.

The aroma is of cocoa, with roasty malts. I can just barely pick up notes of the licorice.

The taste follows the nose fairly well. Cocoa mixed with astringent coffee, though the licorice is more pronounced then in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with subtle carbonation.

This was quite drinkable, and left me a very good impression of the brewery.

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Photo of harrymel
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Vintage 2010.

A: Quarter finger light mocha fades to translucent of the same. Beer is dark, dark brown. No lacing to speak of.

S: Extra roasty. Coffee, graham, cocoa, malt, licorice. I can say, however, the hops are still quite present. Piney, resiny. Malt dominant, but still hoppy.

T: Roast, cocoa, coffee, lighter hops with earthy feel. Good beer. Not spending much time here, but this is really good.

M: thick and syrupy. Like a good beer should be in this genre.

D: this is a really good beer. I hate to be a slave to price point, but at nearly $13 for a bomber, I want to be wowed. The beer is good, really really good. If under $9/bomber, I would be all about this one.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a glass mug.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

With a name like "Old Growth" it has to be good, right? It pours a straight onyx topped by a finger of light-ish tan foam. The nose comprises blackened pretzels, light char, mild coffee, light anise and roasted malts. Things seem a bit too roasted, a bit too char-y for their own good. The taste holds notes of bitter dark chocolate, roasted malts, light molasses, coffee, licorice and a dash of chocolate syrup. A touch of what could be very light smoke flickers in the distance. The body is a solid, hefty-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a fairly chewy feel. Overall, a pretty nice Oregonian stout, though it may be too much for its (or my) own good.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tulip glass. Thanks to spry for this.

A: Pours black with a cap of dark brown head. Pretty good retention but minimal lacing.

S: Sweet, creamy roasted malt, and dark fruits (blackcurrant, licorice). Quite nice.

T: Roasted malts, dark coffee, and a soupcon of licorice which comes to the surface only briefly. Finishes with some moderately bitter espresso (slightly harsh).

M: Light carbonation, full body.

O: Pretty good. Licorice makes for a pleasant, fruity nose. I wish more had come through on the palate.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Bruisin Ales (Asheville, NC). 12.00. No bottling info noted. Served in a large snifter. 

Pours flat black with almost 2 fingers of dense deep tan head. Decent amounts of lacing left behind. 

Smells of roasted malts, smoke and cocoa.

Taste is all about those roasty malts. Burnt wood, smoke, toasted malts, licorice, burnt coffee, bitter dark chocolate & a bit of alcohol. A nice blend that favors the dark roasted malts. 

Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Long lasting bitter finish. 

A darn good stout overall. Pretty unique profile with lots of complimentary flavors. I'd certainly have it again were I to find it under ten bucks for a bomber. 

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Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
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

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Photo of dc55110
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade with ArchEnemyBrew.

Pours a deep black, with a quickly fading mahogany head.

The aroma is full of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, hits of dark fruit and just a bit of alcohol.

The flavors delivered are lockstep with the nose. Full of roasted malts, almost a slight smokiness. Bitter dark chocolate, with out being off-putting. All rounded out with the slight sweetness of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig.

The mouth is a little thinner that every other part of this brew would lead you to believe. It's not watery, but just slightly lacking. I prefer a RIS to coat a bit.

This is really good RIS. I didn't have any idea of what to expect when I opened this one up. I was pleasantly surprised with what this brew delivered. Other than being slightly thin, the look, aroma and flavors are all what you want in a solid RIS!

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is indeed quite tasty. The jet black color is very nice not very much light getting through this beer. The head is sticky and light brown. The hops are prominent along with a ton of roasted chocolate flavors and wood in the aroma and taste. The mouthfeel is semi thick, a little oily. The beer overall is really nice.

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Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from the Nashvillian, cheers John!

Pours ebony with less than a pinky of mocha colored head.Near zero head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, & a touch of Bourbon once warm

T: Follows the nose, plus some herbal & woody hop notes, charred grain & dryness up front. More charred grain & Baker's chocolate as this warms. Finishes with a nice chocolate sweetness, herbal hops, a bit vanilla & more charred grain

MF: Chewy, oily, subtle carbonation

A nice Imp Stout, didn't quite come together for perfection, but a solid offering

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Photo of cjgiant
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of suncrust
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured to a snifter.

A- Pours like a thick motor oil. Ebony tint with a tiny ring of mahogany soap on the brim, otherwise virtually no head. Zero lacing.

S- Dark licorice aromas with a little tobacco, smokey char, and a slight bit of alcohol on the tail. Strong undertones of molasses and sticky dark fruit round out the nose.

T- A bursting blend of licorice, dark baker's chocolate, burnt sugar (almost creme brulee crust...) with a dominate raw tobacco character. Followed shortly by an intricate smokey char that is kindly humble and not overpowering as it goes down. Balances well with the moderate roasted coffee tones and woody cedar characters that hit mid-palette. It got more aggressive in flavor as it warmed, but for the most part I found the taste to be balanced and smooth.

MF- Smooth, velvety and soft. Lower on the carbonation with a slightly soapy feeling in the throat and a lighter dry coffee astringency on the tongue.

Overall a nicely crafted, smooth stout. The char and tobacco characters really highlighted the complexity of this beer for me. Pretty good.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Pours an oily black with a small tan colored head on top. Decent retention, slowly reducing to a ring around the top. Sporadic lacing.

S: Earthy with some chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. There is a little bit of wood and a vanilla.

T: The flavor profile starts off with some roasted dark malt, then some mocha, a combination of chocolate and coffee.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Rather smooth and easy drinking. Slightly bitter finish.

O: Was skeptical at first, since I didn't even know that Caldera bottled their beer, but this was a solid RIS. Would be awesome if they canned it.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Nice viscous looking black pour. Has that light tan fading to dark tan layer of head.

Aroma, roast malt, dark chocolate, some anise and herbal notes.

Taste, roast malt, some bitter pine and anise. Dark chocolate, a woody/peaty quality. Cocoa and some piney bitter finish.

Nearly full body, a smooth carbonation. A little warming, but on par with the style. Rock solid and worth while.

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Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a small but dense light brown head. Retention is good, despite the tiny head. Leaves nice lines of lacing all over the glass.

S: Lots of roasted malt char. A bit of coffee and chocolate as well. Black licorice is fairly prominent. Touch of caramel?

T: Up front, nice roasted malt and chocolate. Lots of licorice in there, through the middle. Coffee kicks in the aftertaste and carries into the lingering bitter finish.

M: Medium-heavy body, fairly smooth and enjoyable.

O: A nice tasty RIS for sure. This one is quite heavy on the licorice. Not overpowering but it's a prominent flavor unlike any other big stout I've had. Unique and tasty.

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Old Growth Imperial Stout from Caldera Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.