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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 71
Hads: 174
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 31
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 71 | Hads: 174
Photo of Electros
4.59/5  rDev +12.2%
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!

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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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 notchucknorris
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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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 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 Pahn
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split 3 ways in wine glasses. Big thanks to generous BA libbey for including this as an extra in a trade a few months ago!

Appearance: Poured slowly; no head but leaves an offwhite foam around the surface. Pours black with no lacing.

Smell: Pale malt, sweet coffee liqueur, some prune-like dark fruit aromas and roasted malt. Malty and inviting.

Taste: Very creamy. Lots of sweetness, but lots of roasted malt and high hop bitterness to balance it. Roasted character dominates most of each sip until the sweet finish. Some dark fruit and coffee liqueur-like highlights.

Some boozy heat comes out as the beer warms up, along with a nice molasses flavor. All in all, this beer has a really excellent balance. Tastes like they used a lot of high quality pale malt, and really got the sweetness / bitterness / roasted malt balance just right. Also, while it's full of nutty roasted malt flavor, it's not ashy or charred tasting at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy. Low to moderate carbonation, semi-dry finish. Could be fuller, but love the creaminess.

Overall: Great beer. Love how smooth it feels, and while the taste isn't too complex, the notes it hits are just right.

Pairing addendum: started eating some salty fries with rosemary and a soy BLT after I'd drank some of this, and the beer only got better (I'm not usually a big pairing guy).

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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 kawilliams81
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours pitch black with a huge 3" dark mocha head. Some trails and blotches of lacing on the glass.

S- chocolate, coffee, some vanilla and faint sweetness.

T- sweet roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and bitter almost some tartness to this beer.

M- medium body and carbonation. Slightl creaminess and dryness but also drinks very easily.

O- very good RIS. Has nice aroma and tastes. Very well balanced with the roast, chocolate, coffee and slight bitterness.

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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 trxxpaxxs
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big ups to libbey for this bottle...

A: Pours straight black, completely opaque, with just a thin vale of mocha head along the edges of the glass. For very little foam, there is a good amount of lacing to this beer.

S: I get notes of chocolate, caramel, burnt toast, peated malt, slight raisin, and booze. There is a really strong peat note that I just can't get out of my head. It's bonkers.

T: Upfront I get a huge blast of sweet mixed with peat. It's almost like a licorice, but not quite. I can't place it. The chocolate and caramel come through in the middle, but that funk is still there. It's not bad, just hard to place and strangely familiar. The finish is bitter and burnt.

M: Full bodied beer. It starts out strong and coating, totally enveloping the palate. The flavors linger for-ever!

O: This is a hit or miss beer. If you like stouts are syrupy, bitter, a bit burnt, and coat (like I do), than you will love this beer. If you're into dark fruits and candied sugar, this beer is not for you. I still can;t figure out this funk, but I like it.

Side note: Just read the label... that flavor was licorice. I don't think I've ever had a beer with quite that black strap flavor (even compared with Unita's Labyrinth). Solid brew!

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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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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of nickfromsacto
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of TheBeerologist
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe glass

Pours a translucent black with a thin tan/light brown head - seems a little light for an RIS but looks nice. Smelled of roasted malts and slightly of chocolate. The aroma though was nicely balanced and left me excited to have a sip. This beer tastes perfectly roasted and not to sweet (which is great to me). Well balanced vanilla up front with chocolate notes to finish. It was lightly carbonated and a little dry. Overall this was a light and pleasant RIS to sip on with very well balanced flavors - I will definitely be looking to get more next time I pick this one up.

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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 billab914
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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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 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 EgadBananas
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big black. Nice medium brown head. Nice lace. Big roast, coffee and chocolate hints. BIG roast, BIG chocolate and a hint of coffee. Slight alcohol, but barely noticeable. Creamy feel, full bodied. I don’t really get any licorice, but this is a great stout nonetheless.

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Photo of rtaps
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to mrvonzipper for opening and share a bottle.

pours an oil black with a half finger brown head leaving a laced rim around the glass.

roasted nuts, mild tobacco, dark chocolate, and licorice, nice earthy aroma here

follows the nose, it's earthy and tobacco type kick to it, coffee and licorice also found here.

full bodied, light-medium carbonation dry mouth viscous.

overall an enjoyable stout not sweet like most RIS so it's different but its enjoyable

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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 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 snaotheus
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split into two large snifters

Pours black with no head. Tiny quantities of bubbles drifting along in a lonely fashion. Smells like licorice and liquor.

Taste is very pleasing. Licorice and coffee roasty malts mix together with some bitter burnt toast and nice malty sweetness for a very nice flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick, a little gritty, slightly dry. Overall, forgiven for apparent flatness. It's good.

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