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Russian Gun Imperial Stout | Grand River Brewing

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Russian Gun Imperial StoutRussian Gun Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing
Ontario, Canada | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Viggo on 04-03-2009

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 152
Photo of CanadianBacon
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - This beer poured completely black with 1 finger of mocha head,the head faded leaving an extremely small ring and I don't see much carbonation.

Aroma - coffee, a really small amount of milk chocolate and some roasty malts. really not much going on, just a simple coffee smell.

Taste - The flavor is rich coffee, earthy hops, some light chocolate.

Feel -medium bodied, prickly carbonation, not much of it tho. The earthy hops and coffee make this pretty bitter.

Overall - this is a basic coffee stout. Its good has nothing offputing flavors but it just doesnt stand out on its own. Am I enjoying it? yes. Woud I buy it again? I dont think so, there are just too many beers that a better for the same price.

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Photo of chinchill
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle with a bottling date of 30 Dec. 2014 (almost exactly 1 year old) served in a Porter Bar goblet t about 50F.

Rich flavor with plenty of hops to go with the dark roasted grains; this mix produces a taste dynamic that goes from surprisingly sweet up front to mild+ bitterness by the finish, with a good bit of change in the apparent balance of malts to hops along the way. Alcohol is very well hidden in the aroma but more obvious in tasting and produces a warming effect beyond the listed 8.5%.

O: a fine RIS that's worth seeking out.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated 500mL bottle at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dries snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Received in a trade with @SebD
Aroma of roasted malt, last entire glass but weakens
Head small (< two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishing to irregular two to nine mm frothy ring and partial frothy layer
Lacing good – partial rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of roasted malt and molasses which balance each other, ends just slightly bitter; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium/full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of drunkenmess
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
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...

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 3/13/2015. Pours fairly opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, light dark fruit, herbal, wood, light char, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, wood, light dark fruit, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Good amount of herbal/wood char bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, wood, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; with a nice roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very good Russian imperial stout style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Three fingers of nougat colored head is easily achieved with a moderate pour. Slow fade yields a wall of swiss cheese like lace all over the glass. Body is a warm blackness that shows only hints of light when held to a bulb. nose evokes the taste buds to water with big coco, chocolate malts and carmel tones all over. With first sip you get an unexpected battle of up front chocolate sweetness and fruit like tartness. Now the tartness is very soft but noticeable. The more you drink the more the creamy coco sweetness takes over. Graham cracker and slight hop resins play the palate also. Mouthfeel is thick towards the back of the tongue. This is a nice drinking Imperial Stout that is just right in terms of size.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce bottle, label says bottled on 2014/AUG/28. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. The brew smells like roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, molasses and a bit of nuttiness. I think the taste pretty much is just like the aroma, but to me it seems the roasty bitter flavors are the strongest compared to the others. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and is easy enough to drink. Low/moderate carbonation. Overall I thought this was a decent brew, definitely worth a try! $5.20 a bottle.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $4.95 CDN. Served chilled into a room-temperature glass.

Appearance - Dark opaque chesnut brown colored beer. 1.5 fingers of opulent tan head that lasts a long time. Reddish hues viewed while pouring. Nice foamy little cap that rests on to after the head subsides a bit. The head actually looks like a creamy whipped dessert after pouring. Some sediment noticed at the bottom of the glass. Excellent looking beer.

Smell - Chocolate (dark) and coffee mostly, not a lot else. There is some nice interplay between the two malty aromas, but on the sparse side when comparing the number of aromas to others in the style. Trace smoke aroma.

Taste - Coffee mostly also much smokier than would have been picked up on the nose (which was minimal). A bit of a leather and tobacco combination blended in there for good measure. Slight graininess and breadiness too and ends with a bitter and malty taste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel - velvety smooth, heavy body and a delightfully dry finish that strikes the right chord between "nice and dry" and "too dry" . Excellent feel and weight here. A "big" beer.

Overall - Well executed, wish the nose was a little better a little closer to the taste, since there is significant disparity between the two, but absolutely love the feel of this beer.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad Stout from Ontario....

500ml bottle served at 12deg C in a chalice.

A- Very dark. Nice dark brown foam head nearly 1" thick in a standard chalice

S- Alcohol, nuts, chocolate and spice

T- Pretty darn good. It's the saving grace for this brew. Otherwise not so good.

M- Creamy. Very good chocolate sliperies Touch of the bitter nuts you find in Guinness.

O- Pretty good. Have a few to age.

Not bad. Will try them as the months pass. Don't want to save for years.

Food Pairing

This creamy chocolate gem can be enjoyed with....Rack of Lamb with a Chocolate Sauce

Definitely compliment each other 100%


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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of AddyCanuck
3.49/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Can't say much other than I couldn't see through the bottle.

S - Roasted malts and slight chocolate where all I could pick up.

T - Really bitter dark chocolate taste. Has a slight burnt taste to it. Bitter follow through. The alcohol taste is a bit overpowering.

M - Dry and very easy to drink.

O - It's a good stout. I don't recommend drinking it by itself. Have a heart tomato based meal with it.

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Photo of korguy123
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Dec 5th, 2012
Consumed while homemade bread was rising Jan 6th, 2013.

Oily black, totally opaque pour with a 3 finger dense tan head. Gobs of lacing on the side of the glass.

Dark chocolate, burnt coffee and the molasses added really stand out in this. It smells much better than I remembered from the first time I had it years ago. Slight sweetness of raw sugar with a touch of licorice.

Burnt coffee, dark bitter chocolate (85%+) very little sweetness coming from the molasses. Good sipper with zero alcohol present.

Medium body, low carbonation. Really sticky on the lips.

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Photo of lwadd
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up from the local lcbo over the Christmas holidays. Poured very black, with a thin head that dissipated quickly. The initial flavourful was rich with, I think, burnt coffee and toffee. The after taste was a little on the bitter side for me.

All in all, I would drink this again, but I feel I've had better. I had it on it's own though, and it might have been better paired with a nice holiday meal.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of jaz58
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first time having this beer. Enjoyed in a pint glass.

Thin head which dissipated quickly.

A good dark espresso colour. You couldn't see through it.

Nice toffee, coffee flavour with a small hint of hops. Silky malt.

Bitters were rough and excessive.

I've had a lot of smoother stouts.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.15/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got this one in a trade last summer, though I can't remember for the life of me who it was. Cheers to whoever you are!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Bottled 5 January 2011

Note: Put this one up against Wellington's RIS in an epic Battle of Ontario!

APPEARANCE: Clear, thin brown pour yields a large, three finger, looser looking, foamy, light tan head with good retention. Bistre brown in color with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a thick cap, then a good wisp remains until the end and leaves lots of chunky lacing down the glass. Too thin a body, and the chunky lacing isn't all that appealing.

SMELL: Yeasty notes, dark fruits and a hint of cocoa powder. Spicy more than anything. Starting to oxidize as well.

TASTE: Yeasty and spicy once more, with a hint of caramel malts. Some spicy pepper, herbal notes, and a touch of bitterness at the swallow. Milder and shorter aftertaste is slightly oxidized, but some bitter cocoa powder and spicy yeast notes do show up, while cardboard hangs around the whole time. Not very nice.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Light on the palate but still creamy enough, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate.

OVERALL: This was lousy at best. If it's not already starting to oxidize, which would be amazing after a year and a half, then it was simply a bad beer from the start. Drain didn't even like it all that much. Nothing to see here folks. Massive loser in the Battle of Ontario...

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Photo of SebD
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice bubbly tan head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and piney hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice roasty character to it with hints of coffee and chocolate, some dark fruit and piney hops. Moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel but it's a bit watery for a RIS.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jer black with a small amount of caramal foam. Tastes quite roasty, with some smoke and chocolate notes coming through. Its not to thin, and it drinks down pretty good for being 8.5%. Considering this is from Ontario, its not that bad of a imperial stout. This brewery can make some decent beers.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black body, with a monster head. Looks like a marshmallow and it won’t go away. Roasted metallic dark fruity aroma. Bittersweet, roast, chocolate. Creamy, not too full, but pleasant. Overall, a decent stout. Glad to have tried it, but nothing I'd seek out regularly.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle from the LCBO

Appearance - Black/brown colour with an average size fizzy light brown head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, roasted/toasted nuts

Taste & Mouth - There is low amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and grains. There is also some hops mixed with a strong burnt/bitter taste. It ends with a bitter hop and burnt coffee aftertaste.

Overall - At first I wasn't crazy about just how bitter this beer seemed to finish. Towards the end I was enjoying it a little bit more, but it still seemed to be off. It was also a little too thin for a RIS. I wouldn't buy this one again.

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Photo of MattyV
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprised and happy to see this made it as far as east as my local LCBO. Bottled 4 days ago, so pretty darn fresh stuff.

Pours an almost opaque dark brown/black colour with faint tawny highlights when held up to light. Thin but creamy khaki head leaves lots of lacing. Aroma's pretty standard (but faint) with notes of cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, and caramel. Taste follows the nose in general, but with roasty/bitter flavours taking center stage. Finish is very dry, which I tend to like.
Body's a bit thin but with nice lively carbonation. Highly drinkable, but I yearn for a bit more richness throughout.

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Photo of Foddz
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Near pitch-black with a deep mahogany hue when held up to light. Tall two-finger marshmallow head that takes on a dirty tan colour. Commendable retention and good lacing.

S: Caramel, dark fruits (cherries, plums, dates), dark chocolate, and hints of espresso. Quite enticing, albeit slightly subdued and not quite as rich as benchmark imperial stouts.

T: Dark fruits, caramel-like malts, noticeable bitter herbal hop presence, and dark chocolate. Alcohol nicely hidden. Quite good but reminds me more of a porter than an RIS.

M: Lighter body than usual for an RIS and an appropriate level of carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel, with very little oily character, and a finishing bitter dryness.

D: Tasty but not quite textbook RIS with a lighter and non-oily body. However, I'm liking the taste profile and will be picking this up again, and will be looking for this on-tap.

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Photo of Kartoffeln
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours nearly black with ruby edges and a big, rocky, tan head of bubbles and dense foam. Solid retention, dissipating to a lopsided, meringue-like cap and leaving loads of frothy lacing behind.

S: Chocolate, biscuit, and some black malts with a buttery caffe mocha character. Caramel, black molasses, cocoa, roasted nuts, and plummy dark fruit notes with a hint of liquorice and floral hops.

T: Chocolate and black malts lead into black coffee, dark chocolate, and cinder toffee notes followed by a subdued wave of dark and candied fruit. Boozy warmth and potently bitter, ashy black malts come through in the finish with a bit of a metallic character.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation (for the style) and slight stickiness. The balance between the flavour profile and enduringly bitter, smoky finish goes beyond dryness and throws things a bit askew.

D: A solid RIS with a charred character worth trying but not really seeking out. It's good as it is, but needs a more robust palate and heavier, silkier body.

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Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.