Old Growth Imperial Stout - Caldera Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Growth Imperial StoutOld Growth Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

165 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 165
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 8.62%
Wants: 29
Gots: 33 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 70
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
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

Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thinner well retained deep mocha colored head,even when held to the light there isnt much to be seen thru the glass.Molasses and dark fruit dominate the nose along with dark coffee roast.Heavy roast and molasses flavors at the onset when the dark fruit comes into play,a big earthy almost raw finish.This is a nice American impy stout,a little raw with full flavor packed in.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
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

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of tdm168
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of billab914
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery snifter. It poured black in color with a thin, frothy tan head barely covering the top.

The aroma shows a mix of chocolate and roasted malts with a little bit of the vanilla and licorice coming out. Pretty nice aroma to it, very flavorful and it came together well.

The taste shows more of the sweeter chocolate and licorice to it up front. Towards the finish the roasted, bitter malts start to take over with some strong coffee notes to it.

The mouthfeel is heavy with carbonation being a little below average. Overall it was a very good beer. It had some bold flavors but they came together well. Very enjoyable beer overall.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark black with good carbonation and nice brown cap

S: Loads of cocoa powder, coffee, dark chcolate and hints of funk/sour

T: Dark chocolate upfront with a booze sting, bakers powder cocoa, coffee beans, light funk going on

M: Bitter chocolate at the end, booze, big body, well carbonated

D: Good

Photo of biegaman
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of dcmchew
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of vfgccp
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
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!

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Photo of ccrida
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of maximum12
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of dar482
4.02/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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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Old Growth Imperial Stout from Caldera Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.