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

Not Rated.
Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial StoutBrewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

268 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 268
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 6
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-05-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 268 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biegaman
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a solid opaque black with auburn highlights and a dark brown head. Great color on this one, but the head recedes pretty quickly.

Smell: Sweet milk chocolate dominates the aroma, though undertones of licorice and toast appear as it warms.

Taste & mouthfeel: Tons of milk chocolate flavor here, as the nose implies. Beneath that there are notes of toasted nuts, cream and a hint of spicy licorice. This is richer and sweeter than I was expecting for a 7.9% ABV beer, but I can't fault it for that. It's got the character of a big RIS with a more approachable alcohol content. The finish is semi-dry finish with a big coffee kick at the end, though it's surprisingly clean overall without a lot of residual bitterness.

Photo of Gehrig
4.42/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time I've seen this locally available so, upon my first trip to the terrific Neil St. Piccadilly, this was a must-grab. Plus, I love Russian Imperial Stout. This is a good representative of the style. Nice presentation, with one and one-half fingers of mocha head nestled atop a black coffee body. More duration from the head would up the appearance score, but this is a good looker. I'm pleasantly surprised with the melange of fruit with molasses and coffee in the aroma. I strongly detect plum with orange peel--very nice.

Very delicious taste, well balanced. I expected more coffee from the label's advertisement, but it's a bit understated--not a bad thing since other flavors emerge to fill any perceived void. The plum and orange are terrific, yet this is far from cloying. Molasses offset the fruit very well. Some coffee, to be sure, but also a little dark chocolate. Very delicious. I'm slightly less impressed with the mouthfeel, which is still good, creamy, and solid. It's just a touch thin compared to others. I think a bit more molasses would do wonders for the mouthfeel even more than the taste, to coat the tongue a bit more. Still, this mouthfeel is no disgrace. Additionally, it's a beer that's easy to down--delicious but also creamy and smooth.

Sprecher is one of the better sleeper breweries in my opinion. I'm quite fond of their Abbey Tripel, and this joins the ranks of very good representatives that Sprecher has to offer. Not the top RIS by any means (Old Rasputin, Samuel Smith's, The Czar, Bell's Expedition, and Oak Aged Yeti rule the roost) but quite good, a bit subtle but more complex than an ordinary RIS. Well worth acquiring.

Photo of Franchise
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black leaving a thick brown head soft and pillowy but disappears quickly. The aroma is coffee, chocolate, dark beans, fresh herbal hops.

The taste is slightly boozy, herbal, spiced hops, chocolate tones, with vanilla, woody, oak, spicy, that finishes dry. Overall this is a brew more on the lines of a English Stout or Porter than the aggresive malt, hops, syrupy mouthfeel and deep roasted flavors I expect in a RIS.

Photo of Derek
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a tan head, no retention, slight leg.

S: Alcohol, raisins, molasses, rye bread, underlying coffee & fruity esters.

T: Plenty of fruity ale esters, black strap molasses, dark caramel, rye bread, coffee, modest bitterness, slight alcohol warmth.

M: Moderate to full body, some residual sweetness with a dry alcohol finish, some roasted acidity.

D: Fairly drinkable.

Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a chalice. From an 8 pack sampler.

Appearance is a dark coffee with no head.

Smell is roasted coffee with fruit. Dark fruit like raisins and dates. Prunes and burnt chocolate.

Flavor is dark chocolate and light coffee with cream and sugar. Dark roasted malt with a bitter flavor that I can't pull out, might be hops, might be burnt malt. Almost a tad bit of smoke with the dark malt. Bitter with an alcohol burn that is covered by the dark character of the beer. Dark sweet fruit is barely there, but is covered up by the dark roasted malts. Like a dark mocha coffee.

Mouthfeel is bubbly but thick, oily on the tongue and clean at the same time. Carbonation is a bit harsh.

Drinkability is average. This is a sipping beer and is not something I would call "quaffable".

Good, I would suggest a try for the price, if you can find it.

Photo of Pauly2X
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Solid one finger dark tan head. Very opaque black.

S- What you smell is a war between sweet, caramel malts and earthy, spicy hops competing for your attention over the other.

T- Great malt profile with just enough hops to balance it all out. Rich and complex without being overpowering.

M- Very smooth and rich but not too thick.

D- Suprisingly drinkable for a beer of this magnatude.

Although some fans of extreme beer may pass on this one, I however feel its truly enjoyable. It may not have that smack you in the face factor that some Imperial Stouts have but it adds drinkability while retaining character and depth.

Photo of brentk56
2.61/5  rDev -28.7%
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

Photo of Douglas14
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black color with a nice light tan head that leaves some webbing. It has a nice roasted and burnt malt and chocolate aroma with some alcohol hints as well. The taste is primarily of heavily roasted coffee and dark chocolate, finishing with burnt flavors, very characteristic of any RIS. Towards the end, I also notice some alcohol burn...not really something I was looking forward to in a beer with only 7.9% ABV. Anyway, pretty good beer and I cannot wait to try more Sprecher brews.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of sleazo
3.16/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Last bottle from the 7-8-9-10 BIF

A-Pours a very dark hue, almost not light gets through. Faint hints of brown can be seen when held up to the light. The initial foamy/thick head recedes down to a nice coffee shaded cap.

S-Thickly sweet smelling boozy malt is evident at first. Bits of dark fruit are also evident. The coffee and chocolate notes are very subdued.

T-More coffee to the flavour and not as sweet as the smell suggests. There is a nice roasted bitterness that contrasts well with the sweet malt. The alcohol becomes more noticeable as it warms, more so than in stronger brews. Nothing else is truly jumping out at me. Aftertaste is subtle burnt malt.

M-Very light for a RIS. Medium bodied for a normal beer but too thin for the style. Mild carbonation

D-This is a decent beer but a little weak for the style. I have a case of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate and this does not compare. I would liken this to a stronger version of the their Swartzbier.

Photo of KSho
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark black color with a red tinted brown head. A nice roasted coffee aroma, but not overpowering. Main note is a coffee taste will some sweet tastes to complement it; maybe honey. Light mouthfeel with a light coffe after taste. A relax in the winter beer.

Photo of mentor
4.57/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I can sum this beer up in a single word, tadcaster. Sour tang, yet sweet dark and delicious.

Pours a half finger of brown head over a pitch liquid. A few streams run up the side of the glass. Smells deep dark raisins, dark grains (coffee, black patent sourish), plum, date, heavy esters. Molasses is heavy and thick.

Tastes raisin, cherry sour, toffee, rich sweet and sticky on the tongue. Roast, but not in a coffee manner. I could see some thinking this too sweet, but I think the carbonation helps lift the sweet just enough from the tongue. Leaves enough flavor on the tongue to ponder, but not like syrupy candy. Storng on brewer's licorice. Perhaps a bit of peated malt. Alcohol is mild compared to the intensity of the other flavors. Comes across clean and a weak voice in a crowded room. Md-thick body and moderate, but sharp, carbonation. Yummy.

Photo of soulgrowl
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Thickish cola syrup brown-black; weak fizzy head struggles to form and doesn't last long enough for me to even notice the color. But it was some kind of malted milk brown, I think.

Smell: S'mores are my first impression - chocolate, burnt sugar, sweet grain. Surprisingly weak beyond that, with some cola-esque sweetness and strong coffee, a drop of honey and some buckwheat-ripe banana pancake notes. I wonder if they used a Weizen yeast or something.

Taste: Cola, Balsamic vinegar reduction, molasses, bitter caramel, and high-cacaomass chocolate-covered espresso beans. Bitterness comes in the form of floral hops and roasted/burnt flavors. Finishes with a flush of brisk rummy alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Very light, too light for the style, in my opinion. But it is soft, and very smooth, slick, and melt-in-your-mouth, in a way.

Drinkability: Meh... an RIS should not leave me feeling underwhelmed. There are lots of flavors going on, but nothing really pops, not even the alcohol. Good, but far from great.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a opaque black color. The head is small, and recedes in to nothing within seconds. The aroma is of graham crackers, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and a hint of milk chocolate. It is a little faint for an Imperial Stout, but strong enough to be enjoyable. The taste is of bitter dark chocolate, roasted malt, with lingering graham cracker in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, which is light for an RIS. It is also too highly carbonated, which seems to obscure some of the taste. Overall, this is a decent beer, but there are so many great Russian Imperial Stouts out there I cannot see myself drinking this again.

Photo of joe1510
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint Bottle
$6.99 4-Pack
Village Dell and Wine shop

Bottle states 7.9%abv

Sprecher's RIS pours midnight black with only faint garnet highlights when directly backlit. A one-plus finger brown head formed on the pour and fell to a skimming rather quickly. Thicker ring around the collar. Leaves some wide webbed lacing that eventually slides back into the body.

This RIS has a very unique nose and the deeper I smell the more I like it. The aroma on this beer is packed full of dark berries. The berries are the most prominent scent of this stout. There's some roasted malts in the background along with a mildly citric hop finish but the berries are the showcase, a melange of blackberry, blueberry, and black raspberry all of which are slightly underripe.

The flavor isn't quite as good as the aroma. Solid but just not as good. I realized as I drank the first few of these from the 4-pack that they need to breath and warm up longer than expected. Lightly roasted malts start things off and a bowl full of the berries mentioned in the aroma, and still lightly underripe, are covered in cream. The sense of underripe berries give a nice tartness along with the citric hoppiness one the finish. It's just enough to let you know it's there.

The body of this RIS is a little on the light side without the creamy smooth carbonation I expected. Body is closer to medium than heavy.

Easy drinker that has it's charming points here and there but nothing I could drink the night away with.

Solid beer from Sprecher. I'd have to be in the right mood to pick this up again but I wouldn't count it out.

Photo of tpd975
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lovely black color with a fast building head made up of millions of tiny bubbles. After the head dies down a simple ring is left and could pass as a cup of coffee, if not served in a snifter.

S: The aroma is nice yet subdued. Deep dark Belgian chocolate dominates with hints of coffee in the background.

T: This one starts out pretty nice. It has a nice big espresso taste from the start with hints of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate in the background. Where this one goes wrong is in the finish. There is a strange medicinal taste that overtakes you as the beer slides down your throat.

M: Medium bodied and creamy, just average.

D: This is a one and done for me.

Overall: An Okay RIS and quite possibly the cheapest I have ever purchased. I thoroughly enjoyed it right down to the finish when I was overcome by the odd taste. If they could remove that it would be a winner. As it is, its just average at best.

I purchased the Big Swing Topped barrel aged Czar version. Hopefully it’s tastier because it was pretty damn pricey.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a thick viscous used motor oil dark buh-lack hue topped with a frothy dark khaki head leaving some drippy lace in the glass.

Aroma is a toasted malt slightly roasty, waffle grain with some red grape suggestions.

First swigs: Slight liquorice, roasty malt, cocoa powder and choclate cake hints. Middle of baker's chocolate, and marshmellow.

Feel is thick, full bodied, tongue coater. Leaves a sweet apple butter linger in the finish.

Last swigs: Flavor seems a tad mixed up with too much Earthy grain and not enough roasted malt focus. $6 bomber.

Photo of Atron67
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- was the standard dead black that you would expect, a heavy brown foam

S- roasted and malty scents, heavy dark scents

T- a solid stout, roasted scents predominate, some dark chocolate, heavy malt throughout, good balance

M- a heavy body mild carbonation that flows over the tongue well

D- a solid RIS

Photo of kajerm
1.73/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I don't buy Sprecher as a rule, but I was at Sam's and got seduced by the cool new bottle. Before the angry beermail comes, let me say this-- it was a swingtop. And the letters were shiny.

Pours dark brown, just a shade under black with a thin ring of tan head and a few spots of lacing.

The aroma is musty and chocolatey with some very subtle hints of molasses. For some reason it doesn't blend together all that well; maybe the stout notes are just too light-- and the coffee is totally absent. With some additional sniffs, I can detect a weird sweetness.

The flavor is a MESS. There's this bizarre, sour astringency to this beer that doesn't taste like normal black malt at all. My best description of the aftertaste would invoke the following flavors: pennies, quarters, dimes, and the Statue of Liberty before it got all oxidized. I love stouts of all shapes and sizes, but this just way too much for me.

As I continue to drink it, I find myself starting to actively despise this beer and feel personally offended by its existence.

It's very thin, which might actually be good in this case.

I can't in good conscience describe the drinkability for a beer that's making me seriously contemplate a drainpour.

This is a nauseating waste of money.

Photo of Homerbag
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very black with strong aroma of chocolate, coffee, and some malt. Thin fluffy head that does no last. Taste was not as complex as I had hoped for. Left a good bitter aftertaste that a thick beer like this should. I think this would have been better if I had put it in my basement to age for a couple months. Overall a good beer, but I am still waiting for beer from them that can compete with the sodas they make.

Photo of kirok1999
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pure 4 all the way across. Beautiful black in the glass and a nice thin light brown head.
Smell is nice roasty malt, vanilla and dark fruit.
Taste is solidly the same as the smell. Nice vanilla and dark fruit, solid mouthfeel and creamy texture. Good roasty malt character but a slight metallic twang in the finish, kinda like biting on tin. Weird but doesn't really detract from the drinkability that much, it's very slight.
Very nice stout.

Photo of morimech
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black with a moderate to small head. Little to no carbonation after the pour.

Aroma of espresso and bitter chocolate.

Flavor is very much of roasted malt with coffee hints.

Smooth and almost velvety mouthfeel with an aftertaste that doesn't linger too long.

Stouts, and especially RIS, are not really my kind of beer and I haven't sampled that many. This is a sipping beer for me and one is enough. Going to store the rest for later consumptiom. The 4-pack box states that if stored properly it will change characteristics as it ages.


Beer from the same pack as the one above but sampled a year later. Still a very impressive looking beer with a long lasting tan head. Some sticky lacing is left on the glass during consumption. Chocolate, coffee, and slightly fruity (cherries?) aroma. Flavor is good but leaves a slightly burnt bitterness. The body is just not full and robust. Otherwise it is as good as any RIS.

Photo of happygnome
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: jet black not transparent at all color with an eigth inch of head that dissapears not too fast and leaves a little ring of lace around the glass
s: roasted and chocolate malts, hints of alcohol aroma
t: deffinate roasted and chocolate malts, some alcohol taste that was enjoyable
m: medium to full bodied beer with a little carbonation very nice

overall I really enjoyed this beer

Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout from Sprecher Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.