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
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 70
Hads: 166
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: 166
Photo of rtaps
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
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 (466 characters)

Photo of suncrust
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (1,094 characters)

Photo of dc55110
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
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! (844 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (417 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (398 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
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 (562 characters)

Photo of julian
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mud black with a thick & frothy tan leather colored head. Retention is pretty good. It dwindles after a few minutes and leaves a beautiful bright tan ring of foam around the edges with some loose bubbles.

S: Smell is dark fruit, brown sugar, light roast, mild chocolate, and some light neutral hop bittering.

T: Taste follows the aroma. Roast and bittering up front, some dark fruit to wrap it all together with a bit of brown sugar malt sweetness. Medium body, clean finish.

O: Good overall, RIS. Well crafted. Awesome appearance, good all around taste. Would purchase again. (582 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 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 Beerandraiderfan
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
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. (592 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 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 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 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 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 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 youradhere
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
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. (421 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
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. (322 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 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 harrymel
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (682 characters)

Photo of Vdubb86
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (666 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of vkv822
3.71/5  rDev -10%
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. (502 characters)

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