Old Growth Imperial Stout - Caldera Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Growth Imperial StoutOld Growth Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

148 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 31
Gots: 28 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: freed on 03-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Halcyondays
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
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 UCLABrewN84
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
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 Beerandraiderfan
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
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 tdm168
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
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 Derek
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
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 jeff1973
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of Tilley4
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
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...

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.78/5  rDev +18%
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 BARFLYB
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
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 oglmcdgl
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Photo of youradhere
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
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 kitty66
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Photo of lowendfrequency
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of harrymel
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
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 vkv822
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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 ccrida
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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 msubulldog25
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of bitterthebetter
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
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

Photo of RedDiamond
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's helpful to know something of what you're drinking in advance of drinking it. I knew Old Growth was an imperial stout, but I wasn't aware it was brewed with licorice, honey, chocolate, lavender, and pink pepper corns. So when I drew the snifter to my nose and inhaled its essence, I was caught off guard by its peculiar tapestry of fragrances. I kept wondering if the beer wanted to smell and taste as it did, or if bad luck was conspiring against it. I concluded that Old Growth suffered from no unintended intrusions, but I was still perplexed by its uncommon design.

I found Old Growth on tap at the Fort George Public House in Astoria where it was featured among other notables as part of Stout Month. Fort George was serving it in 12-oz. snifters where its panoply of sharp aromas was ably focused. Chocolate flavor was featured abundantly, yet the fragrance was also enhanced by a spice mix suggesting mint. The taste worked parallel to this and I was convinced I was drinking a chocolate mint elixir - pure girl scout cookie.

Old Growth's body is oily black with sepia froth. Its complexity makes it an anomaly in a snifter but a year of aging at least tempers this with some smoother contours. I came to enjoy it, but it's clearly not for everyone. 10.3% ABV.

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Old Growth Imperial Stout from Caldera Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.