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Russian Gun Imperial Stout - Grand River Brewing

Not Rated.
Russian Gun Imperial StoutRussian Gun Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

87 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 87
Hads: 142
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 6
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Viggo on 04-03-2009

The Russian gun (or Gun as we call it) is named after the Queens square cannon that sits downtown Galt, Cambridge. The cannon was awarded to the town of Galt for its support of the English troops during the Crimean war which ended in 1856.

That year to celebrate the victory during Victoria day the Cannon was fired at noon. The men firing the cannon successfully fired three shots however during the forth the powder prematurely exploding killing both men charring their upper bodies beyond human recognition and dismembering the arms and hands of both men; two children were lightly scratched.

We have crafted the Russian gun to commemorate this local tragedy taking the recipe from an old English recipe dating back to the early colonial times.
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Reviews: 87 | Hads: 142
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.42/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, opaque sable with a tan head of average thickness and persistence. Rich aroma is fruity, malty and smoky with a firm coffee undertone. Strong, smoky flavor has undertones of fruit and caramel without being too sweet. Texture is smooth, tingly and fizzy. Worth finding. (282 characters)

Photo of Ralphus
4.31/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally I get an opportunity to try this beer, thanks to a friend of mine who graciously offered it up. Cheers!

It pours midnight black with an offwhite head that is rich, creamy and an inch thick. The head has some staying power and leaves thick gobs of lacing. I'm not sure what more you can ask of a Russian Imperial Stout.

The smell is slightly muted, but there is complexity. Chocolate, coffee, malt pine and wood smells come through. V. Good.

The taste is really well done. There is layers of complexity, folded between bitterness and chocolate, coffee and sweet malts. The volume is quite high but its really well done in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is soft and silky thanks to some pinpoint sized carbonation.

Drinkability is good for a beer of this strength. There's something moreish about it. Anyway, well done GR - you've moved up a notch in my book. (862 characters)

Photo of drunkenmess
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice, dark black, with slight hints of amber thru it. Very faintly tho...
Thick off white frothy head. That seems to linger thru out, excellent lacing as well.
Smells sugary sweet and dark.
Taste is not as strong as other Imperial Stouts I've had, still rather nice. Tastes of burnt chocolate malts with a sweet kinda molasses after taste that seems to linger after sipping, like most IRS do. Definitely a Winner in my book!
Only if I could find more of it... (472 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with chestnut highlights and a dark, tan head. The ring of retention leaves some nice leg & lace.

S: Roasted grain (coffee, nut, hints of chocolate), pleasantly fruity, woody spicing, brown sugar, with hints of tar & soy sauce.

T: Coffee, dark rye bread, licorice, figs, roasted nuts, molasses, bakers chocolate, woody spicing, good bitterness, alcohol is subtle. The Willamette hops are certainly different (they're obviously not British, but they don't have the pine and citrus of the stereotypical American varieties, maybe this is a Canadian IS?).

M: Well attenuated for its strength (I'm sure the molasses played a part in that), modest carbonation, slight roasted acidity with a drying finish.

D: I think this was at its prime after a couple months in the bottle, but I've still got a few I'll save 'til the fall/winter. Good stuff. (851 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into pint glass oct14 2009

A not quite black with a big mocha head that fell to an island leaving patches of lace

S lots of espresso and some very dark chocolate

T again the dark roast coffee and chocolate are nice but I also taste a small amount of black licorice I could not smell. although the booze is well concealed you can still taste it and feel it

M not as thick as I expected but nice and creamy nonetheless

D lots of small things make this a well rounded beer. I would drink this again and for 9%alc its very easy to drink

one of the better imperial stouts I've had from Canada, I wish more brewers would make this style. thanks to wittaker for this fine beer (697 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled on Nov 13 2012. This is one of the few 'major' Grand River brews that I haven't managed to get my hands on until now. This bottle was listed at 8.0%, and served only slightly chilled.

Pours an opaque black colour, with only a few brown highlights under the light. Atop the liquid is seated slightly more than one finger's width of silky, creamy, beige-coloured head - almost looks like a melted marshmallow, but with a little more tan colouration. Retention is very good; it takes well over 10 minutes to seep away, leaving behind a thin, foamy cap, collar, and a few rings of sticky lacing. The aroma is enticing, and is comprised mostly of molasses, roasted nuts/barley malt, butterscotch, and a few hints of dark fruit. A pleasant smokiness and some spice underlies this bouquet, adding an additional layer of depth.

Tasty stuff, though perhaps not as complex as the aroma suggested to me - it starts off with a solid dose of roasted, biscuity malts, molasses, cocoa, and some scant undertones of charred coffee grinds and smoke. Earthy, herbal hop notes and spiciness come through toward the finish, with the roasted character of the malts combining with these factors to produce an exceptionally bitter finish. Lingering bitterness and roasted character hangs around on the palate after each sip. On the heftier side of medium-bodied, but not quite full, with restrained carbonation that helps cut through the bitterness without becoming a distraction. The booze never really comes into play. Not as thick on the palate as it could be, but the creaminess (thanks to the long-lasted head) gives it a silky, luxurious mouthfeel that I absolutely love.

Final Grade: 4.04, an impressive A-. One of the best beers in Grand River's portfolio, their 2012 Russian Gun Imperial Stout is a satisfying, full-flavoured brew that I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more of in the future. It's not easy to find a good RIS around here, but this is a solid choice that falls right up my alley - with its relatively low abv, smooth mouthfeel and pleasant, drying finish that contrasts nicely with the big malt flavours. I would definitely take this over Wellington's RIS, and will probably pick up a few more bottles before 2013 is upon us. Well worth trying for anyone seeking out a 'bigger' stout that won't have you slurring your speech after the first bottle.

[Updated Nov. 1 2013]

Another bottle, dated Oct. 30 2013 (so extremely fresh), and listed at 8.5% this time. I'm getting a lot more dark chocolate off of the aroma than last time, but other than that I can't really think of anything to add. While this tastes fine (and it drinks more lightly than most beers of this style), it doesn't really have the intensity or complexity I seek from an IRS. Maybe I'll hold onto a bottle for a few months/a year and see if it develops any. (2,867 characters)

Photo of heebes
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottled Jan 05 2011
Fresh from a visit to the Grand River Brewery in Cambridge.

Pours dark black with a two finger foamy tan head. Lacing is plentiful. Nose is dark chocolate, burnt roasted malt, slight coffee undertones. Taste is heavy on the toasted malt, biscuity flavour with some bitterness in the finish. On the lighter side mouthfeel. Drinks oh so smoothly and has a well disguised ABV. One of the best locally crafted stouts I've had! Wonderful beer from a wonderful Ontario brewery.

Bottles sporting the new updated labels which look great. (559 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

this one courtesy of northyork, the bottle leaked a good bit in transit but there was still about 5 ounces left and it was carbonated, so i went for it as i did not know when i would see it again. poured into a mad elf snifter.

decent pour, jet black and actually still had a small puff of a head before fading down into a light lace. aroma is hot, lots of alcohol here but it gets cut by a nice dose of chocolate and vanilla and coffee as it warms. much thinner then i thought it would be, not flat just a bit thin but the flavor was there for sure. really nice balance of smoke notes cut into by vanilla and coca and a touch of bitter coffee and tobacco. smooth finish left a nice touch of licorice on the tongue and a light fading to the taste.

overall i think it was a nice tasting ris, though a bit thin, the flavor and aroma were spot on. (846 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark black coloring with a frothy, bubbly, light tan head that settles into a sparse surface coating. Aromas of roast coffee, vanilla, mocha, and some earthy notes. Flavors are very bitter forward, with coffee heavy, followed shortly by a heavy roast and slight char to add to the bitterness. Wow. Notes of chocolate to highlight, but leans to the bittersweet side. The body is lighter than most RIS, but solid enough to handle the flavor profiles. Dry, slick finish with a lingering bitterness. The aftertaste is roasty and bitter, with a blend of coffee, chocolate, and hints of booze. Interesting, and lighter bodied than you may be used to for the style, but it works. (727 characters)

Photo of mrmanning
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Chancey Smith's in London, ON- Deep opaque black, darker than motor oil. Nice fluffy and frothy mocha cap that laced and lasted over an hour as I sipped this beast. In the nose, lots of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, and as it warms, there is a bit of vanilla. Tastes roasty, toasty malts, vanilla, espresso, dark chocolate and towards the end, a touch of minty hops that adds to the bitterness in the finish. Not at all boozy, and quite dry and bitter in the finish. At 9%, I sipped it, but it was a delicious beer that hid its alcohol well, and at times I wanted to take larger sips. Another solid brew from these guys. (651 characters)

Photo of BBP
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8.0% version. Unsure as to whether the recipe has changed or just the ABV.

Pours black with decent head and lacing.

The aroma is of cocoa and a bit of pine from hops. It's pleasant but a bit light.

The flavor is predominantly chocolate with some pine and citrus bitterness. It's not so hoppy that I'd call it a black IPA, but there's enough hops to provide balance to the malt and then a little bit extra. There's a little bit of sweetness with some caramel malt but the flavor is overly bitter and roasty.

The mouthfeel is medium heavy and medium full. The finish is slightly dry and moderately sticky.

Overall, this was a better stout than I was expecting, especially in terms of what's brewed in Ontario. It wasn't extremely complex, but everything done in it was done well. I'll have to try more grand river brews to see if they're done as nicely. (858 characters)

Photo of GodOfBeer
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a thin foamy white head. Not as dark as I was expecting for an RIS.

Even though it doesn't smell like your typical stout, it still smells delicious! Smells more belgian like, very fruity, raisins, strawberries, and pretty hoppy.

Does not taste like any RIS I'm used to, but nonetheless still a great beer. Nice and malty, fruity and surprisingly hoppy. Finishes bitter, no coffee or chocolate flavours.

Overall a very good beer, but for a Russian Imperial this falls short. (500 characters)

Photo of pootz
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I waited to do this review until I sampled this both on tap and bottled. There is a difference and I have to say when this is fresh I prefer the bottled version.

Appearance: Served at 45deg.F this pours a light-defying black ale in the thistle with a creamy 2 finger mocha colored cap. This cap reduces to about 1 finger and lasts the drink. Moderate carbonation.

Aroma: Cocoa, roasty cereal husks, burnt toffee, figs and leafy hops...a light earthiness... very nice.

Flavor profile: Front end has a rich flood of malty toffee tastes mingling with dried fruits and cocoa...mid palate some complexity as the balance starts; cherry pipe tobacco, nuts, spice and dried fruit riding just above the lush bittering hops....finishes cocoa-bitter and roasty...great stuff!

character and impression: Rich viscous mouth feel, massive malt spine, toasty-toffee-bitter profile. One of the best domestic RISs I've tasted. Rich,flavourful, well balanced, satisfying. ...too bad a few kegs could not be cold stored and sampled mid winter 2010 as I plan to do with some of the bottles I stored. (1,086 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer appears a solid black, with faint red tints, no head, and a small ring of beige lace around the edges of the glass. It smells of light chocolate malt, some cafe au lait, plum, and a bit of booziness as it warms. The taste is caramel malt, treacle, milk chocolate, and soft, muted alcohol. The carbonation is very low, the body full, smooth, thick, and creamy, and it finishes sweet, the silky caramel malt mixing with the mild booze warmth.

A very good, put-some-hair-on-yer-chest imperial stout - drinkable, although with a booze edge, but not overly so. However, said booze eventual effect will indeed self-limit. (626 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Jan 5, 2011.

Beer looks like a typical stout. Pitch black with a a generous, solid looking tan head.

Roasted malt comes through strongly in the nose, reminiscent of molasses. Very mild scent of coffee. Smells good, but not unique as compared to any other imperial stout.

Taste is very nicely balanced. As I drink, the taste of dark chocolate sticks out more than anything else, though generally the flavours blend together, with nothing sticking out in particular. Some bitterness in the finish. Quite nice.

Beer is medium to full bodied, nice but not as heavy as some other imperial stouts. Carbonation is nicely mild and subdued, which works well. The beer does seem a tad watery as it finishes, but generally is good.

Overall, certainly a good stout, and better than I had hoped. From looking at past reviews, it seems that there may have been a distinct difference between this year's batch and last year. I notice a lot of comments that this beer (last year) was not very similar to a stout, and seemed more like a brown ale. Certainly to me, there is no question that this is a stout. Perhaps they have made improvements! (1,144 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I Like the English style 500ml bottle. The pour reveals a dark, near black cherry red liquid with a smallish tan head. A few patches of lace stick to the glass here and there. The aroma is roasty with a good amount of citrusy hops. The taste is hop forward and rather light on the roasty, coffee dark malts you expect from an RIS. A vinous character complements the grapefruity, piney hops. A bit of astringent burnt barley may turn some people of, but I think its balanced. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light bodied. A rather sparse carbonation level. Alcohol is immodest, but not deleterious. The finish is bitter, roasty and spicey from the booze.

A decent RIS which is a little light in some areas, like malt depth and thick, full body, but it shines in other areas. The hop profile is pretty kick ass. I'd say try this beer. (831 characters)

Photo of Foddz
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A nice black pour with deep, dark mahogany edges. 1 finger of nice creamy head with decent retention, leaves plenty of lacing as it recedes.

S: Roasted coffee notes, dark chocolate and a little bit of smoke are predominant in the nose. Some subtle dark, dried fruit as well underneath. Perhaps even a roasted nut character in there.

T: Lots of dark tastes here! Coffee, chocolate, soy sauce, smokey charcoal. On the sweeter end there's prunes, dates and raisin. A little nuttiness as well, but I cant quite place the type. Hops give a floral/citrusy kick towards the end. Nicely bitter. Aftertaste is lingering hops and some burnt notes. A little bit of alcohol harshness marrs an otherwise excellent palate

M: Smooth and a pleasant substance to it. Carbonation gives a nice tingle. Alcohol again makes its presence known with a lingering burn. Leaves mouth sticky and wet with saliva after swallowing from the savoury roasted flavours.

O/D: A pleasant, complex stout that encourages one to drink deep to sample the subtleties of its varied palate, only to give you a bit of a slap with some of the harsher notes and aggressive hopping. The 8% ABV certainly hits home, too. Not the best stout I've ever had but I'd still recommend it. (1,241 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice Russian Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing. Decent but not a monstrous head with great lacing on the glass. Thick and black in color, opaque. Smells of coffee and roasted malts. Coffee comes through on the front with smoked and roasted malts, licorice and tobacco with a light dose of sweetness to carry it through. Dry but succulent on the aftertaste, with warmth coming through from alcohol level. Very nice offering and would purchase again. An excellent Russian Imperial Stout from Canada. (510 characters)

Photo of uno99
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the "I forgot I had this in the cellar" series; an imperial stout I've heard some good things about.

Served at 54 Degrees into a Stella glass.

A: Very black stuff here. Only a tiny hint of light passes through the edges of the glass when back-lit. creamy one finger head settles to a soapy mess on top that leaves little lacing.

S: Quite roasty and earthy. Molasses and dark cherries are suggested. A little more liquorish than coffee but both scents can be evoked here if your willing to get your nose wet.

T: Very sweet at the front of the tongue. Fruit Flavors mid sip and then a wallop of coffee and roast bitterness at the back.

M: Quite epitomic of all the RIS's I've had recently. Very smooth but still lively, not super thick but a little sticky, and a dry bitter finish.

Overall a really good RIS. Im not a huge RIS fan, but I wouldn't mind drinking a few of these a year. (893 characters)

Photo of cratez
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

EDIT - 2011 Review: On tap at Gambrinus Bistro & Cafe in London, ON. Pours motor oil black with a thick ring of foamy tan head. Smell and taste are light coffee, unsweetened chocolate, roasted malt, vinous pit fruit, oatmeal, and a grassy-floral hop bitterness to end. The ABV packs some heat, so you need to pace carefully. Full-bodied and silky mouthfeel, spicy carbonated bite precedes a drying and astringently bitter finish. Solid complexity, I'll be grabbing this often over the winter. (492 characters)

Photo of BigBry
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml brown bottle, label as above. Compliments of bobsy, has been stored waiting til now to be enjoyed.
Poured very dark, only the smallest amount of light could penetrate the edges. Tan head that faded to a floating cap, thin streaky lacing.
The aroma has some coffee, slightly bitter roast, and a touch of molasses sweetness. The taste has a nice mix of sweet, dark molasses and dark fruits. More bitterness in the end, from the roasted, if not charred grains. Sharp, almost astringent, like the bitter coffee in the smell. It is medium-bodied, not thin but not rich and full either. Hardly any alcohol burn. Some RISs are very rich and bold, but this one is more subdued, making it easy to drink. An interesting take on the style. (735 characters)

Photo of Mit
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a-Dark with almost no colour coming through at all. Some head....nice lacing.

s- Nice malty notes, chocolate, coffee...really nice stout beer smell.

t-coffee, chocolate, dark malts. I also noticed a slight vanilla note...very nice taste.

m-Perfect for the abv. Really nice on a cold day.

d-I would take this over Guinness any day. Very nice. (345 characters)

Photo of mrnobody
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottling date of 4 days ago!

A: Pours black with a reddish tint when held up to the light. One finger of tan head dissipates quickly but leaves some lacing.

S: Smells of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and alcohol.

T: Starts out with sweet-ish coffee and chocolate changing to licorice and bittersweet chocolate. The finish is bitter coffee and some warming booze.

M: Mouthfeel is a little thin for an imperial stout but the low carbonation is appropriate.

D: The ABV is masked pretty well and the bitterness counters the sweetness very well making this quite drinkable. (614 characters)

Photo of funkengruven
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a few of these at a trip to the brewery, This poured a deep black, with a tan head that subsides, leaving some lacing and a ring around the glass. Smell is deep, molasses and roasted malt prevails here. This also carries well into the flavor, aftertaste is rather clean for the style as it doesn't linger for long. The deep flavor and overall strength of this brew make for something to be enjoyed slowly.

It's solid and decent. Worth a try. (447 characters)

Photo of bryehn
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours as black as night, with dark ruby only visible around the extreme edges when held up to direct sunlight. Creamy, but soapy tan-coloured head.

Smells of dark malts, dark coffee, chocolate and fresh pine needles. There is also a notable bitterness and a deep blackberry-like fruit tone. Rich and complex.

The taste is very deep and dark. roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and dark fruit. Rather bitter overall.

Mouthfeel is watery, but with creamy qualities. Very dry and bitter, helps smooth out the thick taste.

Takes some warming up to, but becomes surprisingly easygoing despite its richness. Very good, I'll save one for next year. (643 characters)

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Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.