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Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout - Sprecher Brewing Company

Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial StoutBrewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

245 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 245
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.44%

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-05-2002)
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Ratings: 245 | Reviews: 179 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with reddish tint. Was quite good at room temperature. Thanks Radek. Chocolate and malt and roastiness offset and controlled the bitterness and the coffee. Above average mouthfeel. Smooth Drinkable. A hit for this brewery, though an after-ran RIS.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2008 00:01:22 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My 16 ounce bottle of Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout looks like the picture above, but the cap reads 'Premium Reserve'. I think the two Sprecher RISs in the database are the same beer with different sized bottles and different labels.

Polished mahogany that is opaque, but isn't a complete light sink. Generous burnt orange highlights can be seen along the edges of the glass. The coffee milkshake colored crown is whipped creamy and melts in attractive fashion, but the tattered patches of soap sudsy lace leave a little something to be desired.

If we're talking American stout, the nose holds its own. Since it says 'Russian Imperial' on the label, however, the score must be dialed down one notch. Roasted malt and dark chocolate lead the way. Even so, the beer lacks the power and presence that are required of the style.

Same thing on the palate. My unsolicited advice to Sprecher is to either reconfigure the recipe or name this beer something else. It simply doesn't have the chops to be taken seriously as an RIS. It's far from bad beer, though.

Roasted coffee beans are now at the head of the line. Following along, in no particular order: dark caramel, dark butterscotch and dark fruit soaked in Hershey's syrup. There may be a few shavings of citrus peel as well, but I would never have guessed Cascade, Chinook, Mt. Hood and Tettnanger. The finish is becoming tighter as the ounces pass.

The body/mouthfeel is where the comparisons to a true RIS are the most laughable. Much more malt is needed to fill this sucker out. All things considered, the lackluster carbonation works out pretty well. Light *and* fizzy is never a good thing.

Good thing I didn't buy the 750 ml bottle of Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout, especially since they tend to be upwards of $15. If your expectations are reasonable, this is a decent purchase. Bottom line: at the risk of beating a dead horse, the 'S' is valid, but the 'R' and the 'I' aren't.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 15:20:40 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of womencantsail


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark, dark brown color with a thin tan head that has pretty decent retention.

S: A very sweet nose with notes of root beer, caramel, and brown sugar. A bit of roast and licorice and maybe some hints of coffee.

T: It is surprising how root beer-esque this beer is. Lots of sugary sweetness, molasses, and licorice. There is a slight bitterness as well as a nice roasted character.

M: The body is medium with a lively carbonation that is quite smooth.

D: I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, but it is definitely on the sweet side. This was really a pleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2010 21:19:24 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

2.6/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color with a tan head that disappears quickly and leaves just a few shards of lace

Smell: Coffee and dark, but sour fruit

Taste: Opens with a sour fruit element that just stays sour

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carbonation

Drinkability: Fancy blue 1 litre bottle but the beer just doesn't live up to the packaging - avoid

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2008 03:08:55 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a very thin light brown foamy head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma of black chocolate is pretty intense with some note of roasted malt. Taste is also a mix between some black chocolate and light roasted malt with some spicy notes. Body is a bit thin for the style with some low carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I thought this may lack some complexity but very enjoyable overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 17:46:38 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Thorpe429


3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for the bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours pretty close to black with a thin mocha head. Some spotty lacing on the way down. Half a cap and a thin collar. The nose carries some light roasted malt and a bit of chocolate. Also perhaps a bit of light smoke. The flavor is roasty and quite plain. There really isn't too much there. Not much sweetness or anything. A touch of roasty smoke. Dry coffee. Medium body and low carbonation. Okay.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 00:39:31 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a suitable black body with a smallish, light tan-hued head.

Smell: Malt-minded nose of chocolate, dark caramel, roast, and a light-handed pinch of anise. There's a big whiff of dark fruits present as well.

Taste: Flavors of roasted barley, semi-sweet chocolate, dark caramel, and even licorice greet the tongue on the first sip. A soft background dark fruitiness gently slides in. Fairly restrained hop presence only provides an ill-defined bitterness as you round the corner to the end. Then, it's back to the roast and chocolate until the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: While it's not the most exemplary example of a Russian Imperial Stout as it simply lacks the verve and gusto of the style's stalwarts, it's still enjoyable and worth a try. So, why not give it try?

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2009 18:06:32 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Guinness pint glass jet black with a fizzy caramel color head,the color was nice but I wasnt expecting the fizzy look I got from the head.Aromas are killer,dark fruit,rum,bitter chocolate,and roasted coffee all come together real well and its not subtle by nay means.Maybe not quite as full as I was expecting in the mouth but its close,sweet buttery rum flavors with bitter chocolate and dark fruit making it sweeter at the onset,a nice earth/woody note in the finish keeps the sweetness in check enough.Not a bad RIS,quite drinkable,you can have more than one.

7.9%ABV per bottle label.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 22:25:05 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Coming close to the end of the haul from the post-DLD death march. It's been quite a ride, and I'm not glad to see it go. *tear* This guy pours an opaque black brown (the latter very dark, attempting to blend completely into the surrounding night) topped by a minor bit of transitory ecru mini-foam. The nose comprises darkly roated malts, black cherries, figs, molasses, carmelized sugar, and, unfortunately, a bit of solvent, the only real knock against it. The taste holds notes of black cherries, figs, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, toasted oats, and bitter dark chocolate. The last item there, though, allows a heavy, chalky bitterness to pervade as an unattractive aftertaste. The body is either the heaviest medium or the lightest heavy, with low carbonation and a smooth, fluid feel. Overall, a decent RIS, but not something I would recommend as being representative of the style. Something just ain't entirely right here, but far from entirely bad.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2010 01:40:51 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black. Impenetrable except for a ring of glowing deep mahogany at the base of the Imperial pint. Creamy, lasting head of very dark tan. Walls of thin, bubbled lace. Nice!

Smell: Deeply caramelish. Molasses. Fruity with cranberry! Roasty malt with a slight smoky edge... almost like burnt black coffee at 3:59 AM in a greasy spoon. Charred wood. Very much like very dark-kilned chocolate malt... some black malt/roasted barley too. Fruitiness! Burnt sugar. Burnt toast. Bourbon. Scotch. Rich.

Taste: Dark caramel intertwined with deep fruit appears upfront. Berries. Slight cherry. It's initially juicy and reddish, but turns to more black-skinned fruit as it warms a touch. Some sugar and alcohol hits it and it becomes like a nutty European apertif. Caramelish malt rounds it out. Grassy hops rise towards the swallow. The caramel never fades, but it turns darker as the roastiness and burnt character rise, eventually leading down a thin trail to deep-charred character in the dry finish. Bitterness is solid. Dry, roasty finish with a flash of fruit, some lingering caramel and honey-drizzled nuttiness, and then almost-raspy roasty bitterness. Leaves a burnt, acrid taste in the mouth like burnt toast... sounds bad - quite nice! The alcohol is always kept in check.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderate carb. smooth.

Drinkability: The alcohol is pretty well kept in-check, as are the bitterness and roastiness - so no negatives. A bit more richness would entice.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2007 04:12:56 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big, black color. Huge, towering, cocoa-hued head.
Aroma: soft, but showing hints of coffee and chocolate, sweet and yummy.
Lush mouthfeel, but short finish. Rather abrupt, actually. Body is not as full or as deep as I'd like in an imperial stout, but these words were captured during my notations on this botttle: "Warm, rich, chocolatey, toasty, bits of licorice...yum...suh-weet.."
I love Imperial Stouts, and I liked this one, a fairly middle-of-the-road effort, not bad.
Thanks to jeffboo for the gift of it.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2003 22:21:13 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. wax-sealed bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is deep dark black with a short brown head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, chocolate, dark fruits and some alcohol.

T: Rich, malty flavor of espresso, dark chocolate, a little hops, with a slight touch of fruitiness and smokiness.

M: Smooth, viscous, full-bodied, light carbonation, sticky finish.

D: This one is tasty, smooth, but a little filling. Even so, it's something you can put away rather quickly.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2007 18:32:58 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple fresh bottles at the brewery, now with a new label reflecting the "Premium Reserve" branding. A photo of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow plays up the Russian origins of the style.

Served at 50º into a Map Room pint. Initial aroma of banana yeast esters when the cap is twisted off. Once poured, there's a deep roastiness in the air. The dark tan foam rises and cascades at first. A second pour doesn't generate as much foam.

Slight bitterness and earthy roast in the taste. Bittersweet chocolate, ashy roasted malt breadiness. A sweet raisin resides in the back end, that seems to be concentrated briefly on the front of the tongue. Alcohol is not noticeable.

It's body is where it suffers slightly. While good for your average stout, it's nowhere near as burly as the benchmarks of the style. Carbonation is adequate, some smoothness, but it seems a touch too thin. Drinkability is good, not a bad choice for a 60º day in April.

Notes: After trying a bottle at room temperature, I'd say the 50º-55º range for serve temp. is optimal. I'm planning to age the 1 liter bottle in my cellar, and see what happens a year or two down the road. Edit: the blue liter bottle was oxidized and terrible.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2007 22:55:38 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Sebletije, cheers Seb!

Pint bottle pours a claret toned mahogany with a finger of mocha head. Above average head retention & lacing, on the cusp of a 4.0

S: Dark fruits, leafy hops, toffee & cocoa powder

T: Dark fruit, licorice, iron & roasted malt up front. Powdery cocoa, mocha & a touch of warming booze as this warms up.

MF: Smooth, near zero carbonation, some oilyness

Drinks fairly easy for the style, there are many better ones out there, but this is a solid citizen in that RIS community! Almost turns the corner to near greatness, not quite

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2008 04:46:14 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a thick and rich, black and roasted malt scent. There is a nice bit of warmth along with a mild hop aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, creamy black malt flavor that goes down slow with a good deal of hop character. It has a nice roasted and chocolate flavor that rounds out the malt profile. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good RIS. It's rich and flavorful and incredibly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 23:19:46 | More by WesWes
Photo of jlindros


3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a SMBDC Stout tasting thanks to Amy and Michael, but don't remember who brought this one.

Pours a light fizzy head, dark brown molasses color.

Nose has syrupy malts, molasses, caramel, vanilla, candy like, malty sweetness, light oak, kinda like caramel candies.

Taste is lighter, little tart sour flavor as I think there's a slight infection, dark syrupy malts, little dark charred malt with a bit of salty briny char, bitter roasty, hint of chocolate and caramel, bit of vanilla.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent carb.

overall meh, a bit of an infection doesn't help, but this doesn't seem to be a big beer to begin with.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2012 23:39:50 | More by jlindros
Photo of Knapp85


3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a very dark brown, basically black once in the glass. The head is cream colored. The lacing an retention is decent. The smell is roasted with a dark fruit sweetness. The taste of the beer is roasted, slightly chocolatey with a subtle tartness. The mouthfeel is a bit over carbonated and thin for the style. Overall it's decent but nothing like it should be for a RIS.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2013 03:52:15 | More by Knapp85
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours midnight black with a minimal tan head that does not really stick around long. Nose is thick with molasses and malts. Flavor is thick as well. Loads of malt. High amount of molasses. Mild roasted aftertaste. Feel is a bit thin on the liquid, but the carbonation is decent. Overall very easy to drink, at first. Afte the first half it gets harder to drink as it seems to get unbalanced in it's roasted edge. First half good, second half...not so good.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2008 02:32:02 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle states that the abv is 7.9% abv pours a pitch black body with a mocha tan head, forms nice even chunks of lacing with each sip. Aroma dark burn black patent malt with a touch of coffee. Dark fruit, soft oatmeal like grain additions give it an Impy Stout light feel. Flavor is nice warming alcohol with dark fruit a touch of candy. More dark roasts mild coffee heavy with plum or booze soaked raisins. Mouthfeel is medium bodied a bit light for some Imperial Stouts but this beer has done me right I don't care if it's more of a Double Stout, it works flavors collide and then form a cohesive balance with each sip. Drinkability overall is solid perfect portion versus a bomber I'd rather drink this than most of the heavy micro stouts I've tried recently.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 04:32:51 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of tempest


3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared this with a couple friends. It's a nice enough beer, but tame for the style. And really, no 8.5% beer should be short on character like this one. There's a pleasant smoky character followed by creamy chocolate, but not much else. It's bland for one of the potentially richest beer styles out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2010 05:10:15 | More by tempest
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ouncer, plastic/wax top (a pain to get off), hang tag, the whole bit, purchased at New beer, in NYC, pours black and gooey, dark tan head, tiny bubble film and some spotty lacing. Nose is richly of expresso, cocoa nad dark bitter chocolate. Strong brew, notes of black coffee, bitter chocolate. Alcohol quite present and prickly on the nosrtils. Black currant jammyness, thick smoke and oilyness with overtones of a coffee/choco blackout trainwreck. This one likely could use a few years in the bottle to mellow out, now its drinking a tad on the rough, unbalanced and unrefined side for my sensory system.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 01:43:10 | More by Billolick
Photo of Wasatch


4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this one.

Poured into a chalice a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, with some caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, with a very nice dose of chocolate/toffee, and caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, really liking this brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 01:01:33 | More by Wasatch
Photo of ppoitras


3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. Gold wax sealed cap, with hangtag that further IDs it as the "Brewmaster Premium Reserve".

Poured into a large chalice, formed a 1/2" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head fades reasonably quickly, with heavy sticky lacing. Aroma is heavy dark grains, with a rich booziness to it as well. Taste is dominated by hoppy bitterness, which somehow still seem somehow false inflated. Dark coffee bitterness peeks through at times, and definitely alcohol warmth on the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are limited for me, this one just didn't come together in my mind. Maybe some barrel-aging like some of the other offerings in this groups would do it justice or something.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2006 01:47:16 | More by ppoitras
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz twist-off bottle with 'Premium Reserve' printed on the bottle cap.

Brewmaster's Premium Reserve has a ginger beige head that modestly settles to a bubbly outline. Luckily, it can be rejuvenated on swirls. The body is tar black, opaque, but with some deep ruby when up to the light. Very sparse lacing dots the glass from top to bottom in an uneven pattern.

The aroma required way too much warming before anything came forward. I was happy to find, once they did, notes of dark field berries, coffee, powdered chocolate, and light anise. It smells alright, but any beer that bears the 'Imperial Stout' moniker should smell way better than only 'alright'. It must have more. It's expected to be much bigger, bolder, and far more arousing to the senses, it should have you craving that first sip...

The mouthfeel has a black licorice feel with an astringent bittersweet quality. Bitterness and roast are both low. The body is viscous but not all that filling. No roast? A touch of chicory, milk chocolate, vanilla, blackberry and wood smoke. Flavours, like aroma, are extremely underwhelming for the style and rank within the 'good but not great' category.

This just doesn't have enough of anything to be called an 'Imperial' stout - it's an 'underwhelming' style stout if anything. This could of used more hops and more malts. Add flavour and body and aroma as well while you're at it. This is very light in all respects - mouthfeel, bitterness, alcohol, flavour, satisfaction; this is a 'junior member' of the RIS club.

The beer can be enjoyed, do not get me wrong, but it simply isn't what you want from an Imperial Stout. And indeed, I did enjoy, but I also couldn't help but be a little disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2008 04:18:54 | More by biegaman
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big swingtop, thanks to grub for opening this one. I still have one in the cellar.

Pours a dark brown, can see clear through it, thin fizzy tan head forms, settles to a ring, no lacing at all, doesn't really look like a RIS. Smell is weird, soy sauce and molasses, smoke, some chocolate, alcohol, oats, licorice, cola/herbs, weird, some things I couldn't place going on in there. Taste is in the same vein, soy sauce, strange sweetness, lots of cola and rootbeer almost, vanilla, licorice, herbal, chocolate, alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, just weird. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, some warming and quite thin. Wow, this is an odd RIS. Too thin, colour is too light, strange aromas and flavours. I don't think I want to drink the one I have in my cellar, this stuff wasn't too my liking. Thanks Russ!

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2008 20:46:03 | More by Viggo
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Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout from Sprecher Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.