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Russian Gun Imperial Stout - Grand River Brewing

Not Rated.
Russian Gun Imperial StoutRussian Gun Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

121 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 121
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 11.62%
Wants: 5
Gots: 6 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: Viggo on 04-03-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 121 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Between a stout and an RIS, but a good idea for a cask. Roasty coffee, and beery aroma was above averag for a cask. Brown, not thick, with a casky bubbly crowning head. Taste is decent coffee, some roasted barley, a bit of chocolate malt. A sipper. Medium mouthfeel.
Better on tap a few weeks later at Beer Bistro, and raised my rating accordingly

Sammy, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt notes with hints of dry raisins. Taste is a balanced mix between some roasted malt with vinous notes and a dry raisin finish. Body is too thin for style with good carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Not bad and interesting side of vinous/dry raisin notes but body is too thin for style.

Phyl21ca, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

mikesgroove, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18.9%

ygtbsm94, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

biboergosum, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to grub for the trade! shared this w/ my bro tenderbranson69. Poured chilled from the 500 ml iinto a nonic

A - dark translucent brown w/ a creamy smooth topped head. The color is dark caramel and the lace clings well the bead is fine.

S - A mix of sweet and sour notes, malty scents w/ woody note and mild vinous odor w/ hints of raisin

M - A mostly sweet feel w/ light roasted texture and gentle yeast w/ slickness and moderate carbonation level

T - A deep roasty, beefy malt taste w/ a creamy cocoa flavor and hints of molasses w/ mild pine hop flavor. There is dark brown sugar in the taste w/ a nice subtle caramel malt taste. The dark toasted malt is crisp w/ a clean roasted flavor. The notes of bready yeast are complemented by gentle nuttiness.

D - This is a fine Imperial stout. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of drinking and very quaffable for the 9% it packs. I would certainly recommend this if you see it. I enjoyed the freshness since the bottled on date was April 14, 2009.

Slatetank, May 31, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried this on-tap at the Hart House 2nd Annual Beer festival. Served in a plastic taster glass.

A - Black, with plenty of lighter browns at the fringes - a dime of foam that dissipates quickly to a ring. Kind of underwhelming.

S - Caramel malts, raisins, dark fruits - really more barleywine-esque here. Not generally what I expect from an RIS, and maybe not even an English Stout. Where is the roastiness?! That being said, the smell was nice - just not appropriate to style.

T- Harsh bitterness in the aftertaste, some brown sugar malts and dark fruits at the onset, and a bit of fusel alcohol for good measure. Meh.

M - Medium body, low carbonation. Again - not very stout-like and more typical of English barleywines or English brown ales. Still, nothing offensive; just could have been a little bit bigger to support the ABV.

D - I struggled through my taster. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either. The 9% was not particularly well hidden, and the subverted expectations soured my experience right from the start. Nowhere near as nice as Wellington RIS if you want an Ontario example of the style.

MasterSki, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with good clarity and little head. Smells quite toasty, like white bread dry toasted, and there is some dry roastiness that is a touch on the light side. Tastes very, very dry, also with toasty notes. Unfortunately it's also a little thin and a little one dimensional. I think this one is a little too attenuated- it cries out for just a bit more sweetness and a bit more depth.

Georgiabeer, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Thanks to korguy123 for sending this my way.

A: Pours jet black with a foamy tan head. Head retention was ok, dissolving to a thin layer of bubbles on top. Not much lacing.

S: A good bit going on in the aroma here, some maple sweetness, a little bit of coffee, molasses, raisins, but very sweet overall.

T: Similar to the aroma, with a good bit of maple, some dark fruit, molasses, and a little sweet. Hints of chocolate and coffee are mixed in, but play a minor role.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a touch on the thin side, with moderate carbonation. Pretty boozy for only being 8.5%.

O:

mdaschaf, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Russian Imperial Stouts not all need be abysmally black and incompatible with light; to be sure, Grand River's Russian Gun is very dark and largely opaque but it still affords us flashes of maroon and the odd stroke of black cherry when really well lit. It may not look quite as intimidating but it certainly looks just as appealing.

The aroma is bitter and potent like freshly brewed coffee (which it coincidentally carries a hint of). It has an ashy robustness that palpitates with notes of dark chocolate and sweet black-strap molasses. Still, there's a lot less decadence and a lot more graininess; I'm thinking this won't be over-the-top indulgent like its counterparts south of the border.

In fact, both the aroma and taste remind me a great deal of their Mill Race Mild, albeit an amped up version of course. It shares that same combination of sweet molasses and bitter cocoa powder as well as the notes of roasted nuts, dark fruits and grainy, well toasted breads. It differentiates itself with the addition of more intricate and rich notes of pipe tobacco, black coffee and anise-seed. There's also hints of cinnamon and wood spice.

Even though the flavours are themselves rich, the beer is not. It is medium-bodied, carries a hint of lactose and those aforementioned flavours flee the scene fast leaving little remnant other than astringent hops, roast graininess and a stale coffee aftertaste. This offers nowhere near the level of rich, sweet or succulent 'dark chocolate caramel coffee cake' flavour that most craft drinkers have likely become accustom to by now.

But that is not to write the beer off. In fact, I bet there will be a referendum on this offering: those who like their Imperial Stouts rich, excessive and decadently indulgent will vote one way; those who can still appreciate an Old World tempered RIS that is better suited to session than snifter will vote another. If you like the former look further south. If you like the latter then this stout is one you'll undoubtedly enjoy.

biegaman, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of Viggo
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle.

Pours a clear dark brown, light in colour for a RIS, thin off white head forms, settles to a thin ring around the glass, a few lace spots stick. Smell is neat, lots of molasses, caramel, alcohol, some chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit and raisin, alcohol, lightly roasty, nuts, very interesting profile. Taste is similar, big molasses character, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, quite sweet, bready and earthy, some light chocolate and roast, lightly spicy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation. A pretty unique RIS, very malty compares to the strong roasty ones. It has aged pretty well, really smoothed out.

Viggo, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of liamt07
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Duvel tulip. Deep brown/black coming out of the bottle, with some dark ruby red colouration when held to light. Tan/beige head which faded to leave a thin layer and had very slight lacing. Smells of dark fruits, some chocolate and a bit of molasses; quite sweet aroma. Get a touch of alcohol in the smell too. Tastes of the dark fruits too, a bit of coffee, some dark chocolate but little heat. Again, sweet and get some of the roasted malts coming in. Sweet in the mouthfeel, carbonation seems fine and seems to leave a lingering aftertaste quite some time after I've had my sip. Good drinkability, yet I find the 500mL bottle size to kinda put me in no man's land as to whether I share it or keep it to myself for this ABV.

liamt07, May 03, 2010
Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Derek, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.04/5  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.

GarthDanielson, Sep 03, 2013
Photo of wordemupg
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
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

wordemupg, Oct 14, 2009
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in to Duvel tulip

A = Poured a dark brown; not as thick and black as many RIS but still a nice deep brown colour with half a finger of light brown head. Some visible carbonation.

S - The nose is dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and a hint of coffee and dark fruit. Some sweetness here too: perhaps some caramel or molasses (only the general sweetness sticks out). Slight alcohol smell is prevalent as well.

T - The taste is odd for a RIS - very prevalent dark fruit up front with a general roasted malt profile - but no discernible chocolate of coffee taste as was present in the nose. With a few more sips, a slight coffee flavour shows up and the dark fruit fades a little bit. There is also some bitterness in the background - definitely some hops in here. The hops become much more noticeable the more I drink and provide a nice backbone to the roasted malts. No real alcohol taste at all here despite the 8.4% ABV (my bottle says 8.4% - not sure why the details above say 9.1%).

M - Not typical for a RIS. Light to medium body, no silky texture and somewhat overly carbonated. If I was tasting this blind, I would likely say that it was a robust porter as opposed to a RIS.

D - A nice beer and very drinkable. Not sure I am all that impressed with this as an RIS, but ignoring the label, this is a nice beer.

Now I have to decide if it is worth picking up another bottle or two to age...

TheSevenDuffs, May 19, 2010
Photo of spinrsx
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

spinrsx, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
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.

Cyberkedi, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of tbeckett
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

More and more Grand River seems to be popping up in the LCBO. I haven't been disappointed yet so I have high hopes.

A - Pitch black. Two finger creamy khaki head leaving great lacing. Decent carbonation streaming up the sides of the glass. Delicious looking head so things are looking good.

S - Lot's of roasted malt and dark, semi sweet chocolate. Really inviting. Maybe some espresso too. Typical RIS smell.

T - Packs a punch. Some alcohol is there with much more chocolate and roasted malt. Alot more coffee than the aroma. Sweet sort of finish. Not the greatest RIS I've had but it's quality.

M - Mild Carbonation. Full bodied. Really bitter and oddly sweet finish.

D - A nice RIS. Flavours seem to be a bit scattered but not enough to complain. A good Ontario brew and I could have another.

tbeckett, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

EgadBananas, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of tpd975
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to grub for this one.

A: Pours a nice dark shade of black/brown with a pretty nice mocha colored head. Okay retentio and a solid ring of lace at the top.

S: Lots of rich sweetness coming at you mostly as molasses. Loads of dark fruit seems to melt into chocolate.

T: Nice flavors going on here. Molasses for sure. Subtle notes of coffee and chocolate. Big dark fruit blast near the back end with a bit of black licorice in the finish.

M: Medium in body, pretty smooth, with okay carbonation.

D: Lots of tasty notes going on, but they just don't seem to meld as good as the world class stouts. It is not a bad beer by no means though.

tpd975, Jul 09, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
2.1/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Thanks to Alex (Masterski) for providing this in a recent trade. Alex’s boxes are always very interesting.

A foamy, frothy tan head builds aggressively on top of this beer. Collapses from within. Looks like a coffee milkshake sitting atop the black beer. Lots of sticky lace. Sadly this is the highlight of this beer.

Soy mixed with dark roasted malt and some black licorice.

Oh MY, why is this so metallic? Burnt roasted malt and ash. Charcoal as a matter of fact. Alex mentioned this was a bot if a joke insert in our trade. I deserved that as I sent him a beer from Maine that fit the same billing. Whew… not a great beer here. A much better looking beer vs. the flavor. Milky dirty at the end. My wife says it tastes like blood and water.

Body is way too thin.

Hmm, won’t be having this one again. Just move on.

Reagan1984, Oct 23, 2011
Photo of canucklehead
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Meisterburger for this one.

Poured the usual blackness with a kinds subdued nose for the style. The beer has lots of complexity in the midbody but the finish is a little abrupt for a RIS. The chocolate roasty notes were quite prominent and the added dryness gave this beer its character. Good beer though not world class

canucklehead, May 10, 2010
Photo of Bung
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Bung, May 31, 2014
Photo of bobsy
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Midnight black pour with a big, bubbly tan head that soon diminishes to a patchy film. Pleasant caramel, chocolate and roasted grain aroma. Toffee, chocolate and vinous tastes dominate, and there's not nearly as much roast as I had expected. In fact, Russian Gun reminds me of a young Thomas Hardy's in spite of being a completely different style. This extends to the mouthfeel, which is smooth, medium and chewy, with little notcable carbonation.

Not what I expected at all, but I liked it. Its incredibly easy to drink and the alcohol is expertly concealed (though you can feel it in the stomach).

bobsy, Apr 04, 2009
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Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.