Russian Gun Imperial Stout - Grand River Brewing
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Ratings: 120 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +11.1%
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
10-14-2009 21:20:30 | More by wordemupg
3.05/5 rDev -17.3%
Yet another horrible, cheap looking, badly designed label from Grand River. Ultimately it's what's inside the bottle that matters of course, but if there was a score for label design this would get an A for awful.
Pours jet black with a frothy tan, almost rusty orange head. Lots of big coarse bubbles. The lacing is beautiful, nice and sticky--a thin film of head retains very nicely throughout.
Surprisingly the first thing I notice isn't roastiness or malt, it's fruity esters. Raisin like. Molasses and some alcohol are present also. It's fairly subdued though. I expected more roast type aromas.
The star of this show is cold black coffee, with prune, cane sugar, caramel, chocolate and some burnt malt flavors in minor supporting roles. There's a slight grassy, spicy hop bitterness in the finish that really lingers. The finish is incredibly long. Overall it's just a tad too sweet and not roasty enough.
The mouthfeel is very much on the thin side for the style. Probably this beer's biggest weakness.
It's drinkable, as are most Russian Imperial Stouts thanks to the depth and richness of flavor, but one is enough.
Final thought: I've only had this once before, only it was on cask, where I found it flat, lifeless, boozy and I got a lot more black licorice than I did this time. Not that enjoyable. The added carbonation in the bottled version makes it much lighter and the alcohol is masked much better for some reason.
10-01-2009 00:41:53 | More by MeisterBurger
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
09-25-2009 15:06:12 | More by Viggo
3.53/5 rDev -4.3%
Thanks for bobsy for this beer. Tasted on September 10, 2009 to celebrate the start of the 2009 nfl season! This bottle was bottled on April 24th, 2009.
A: Dark beer however, not pitch black. Red edges. The head is creamy and sticks to the glass so well. If this was a darker beer, the looks would be awesome.
S: On the smell side, I get licorice and dark fruits.
T: Ouch... so metallic on the first sip... doh! Later sips are way better... phew!! After a few sips, I get licorice with a good bitterness that I get from the dark fruits... As the beer warms up, I get some molasses.
M: Creamy feeling with a medium to thin bodied beer.
D: Drinkability is not great... one per session is good. I would say the drinkability is average.
Overall, this is a average to good beer. I prefer the other 2 beers I got from this brewery. I'm glad a tasted it 'tho! Not a bad drink, just that I don't think I would crave for it again...
09-12-2009 00:07:11 | More by ZorPrime
3.15/5 rDev -14.6%
Thanks to Derek for getting me my third Grand River beer.
Bottled April 24, 2009.
Poured from a 500ml. bottle.
Appearance: Pours a dark brown, borderline black body with a decent if not conservative tan head. Looks good.
Smell: Cocoa, coffee without the bitterness and a little sweet but everything is on the down-low though, even at a warmer temp.
Taste: Some bitter coffee, burnt a little with a small sour twinge. Tastes a little like watery coffee with. Not very imperial.
Mouthfeel: A bit thin & watery in the palate with low carbonation. It is smooth in a way but the beer feels unbalanced somehow.
Drinkability: Giving a bit of a boost for points here as the 9% ABV is really not perceptible at all making it very easy to drink. That said, i wouldn't particularly reach out again for it.
Overall: Of the three that i though i would enjoy the most, this is the one that disappointed me. Very average and not typical of an Imperial Stout, IMO.
08-04-2009 13:04:45 | More by papat444
3.18/5 rDev -13.8%
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.
08-03-2009 12:15:29 | More by MasterSki
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
07-29-2009 22:54:11 | More by funkengruven
4/5 rDev +8.4%
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.
07-29-2009 13:53:26 | More by mrmanning
British Columbia (Canada)
4.1/5 rDev +11.1%
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.
07-12-2009 00:38:33 | More by Derek
3.63/5 rDev -1.6%
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.
07-09-2009 19:40:53 | More by tpd975
3.85/5 rDev +4.3%
Bottled April 20, 2009. Cola-like and opaque on the pour, two finger bubbly mocha-tan head took a while to settle leaving nice, slightly sticky lace. Throughout the tasting, the head easily regenerated with a swirl. Smell of coffee beans, milk chocolate wafer, espresso. Taste is cold coffee, bakers chocolate; bitterness is pretty well balanced and palateable. Smooth, medium dry mouthfeel with low astringency, very drinkable. Long bitter finish. Alcohol very well handled. Although this RIS doesn't have anywhere near the complexity of some, it's hard to find fault with it. The only slight drawback is a kind of artificial sweetener backdrop but overall I'm very pleased with this beer and will pick it up again.
06-23-2009 03:03:19 | More by ThatWineGuy
3.78/5 rDev +2.4%
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.
06-19-2009 02:54:13 | More by biegaman
3.5/5 rDev -5.1%
Bottle from the brewery. Bottled on april 14th.
Served into a Guinness glass.
A - Very nice black color with deep red hues. Nice brown head sticks. Some lace.
S - burnt/roasted malt, Coffee, hints of dark fruit.
T- Is as the aroma suggested, fairly roasty, with strong flavors of black coffee and dark chocolate,
nuts, dark fruit ( raisins figs etc ) some sweet candy like flavors. Bittersweet finish.
M - body is on the lighter side of medium, with appropriate carbonation for the style.
D - Tasty beer good for sipping.
Overall a pretty good RIS with room for improvement. Im gonna keep a couple bottles around till the Christmas season.
06-03-2009 18:30:52 | More by drinkininthewood
3.85/5 rDev +4.3%
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.
05-31-2009 18:05:08 | More by Slatetank
3.63/5 rDev -1.6%
Much thanks to wfeddern for including this in my CanBIF 5 package.
Opaque black in appearance, yet reveals garnet cola highlights when held to direct light. Creamy light beige head that holds steady as a thick cap. Thick rings of lacing.
The aroma is not intense, but is equally effective. Light roasted malt, coffee, mild cocoa.
Dry roasted malt bitterness up front in the flavour, with some cafe au lait sweetness in the middle, with moderate bitter malt and slight herbal hops. A sweeter aftertaste at first, with a mild bitterness lingering on longer.
Mouthfeel is smooth, a bit light, but for the most part medium-bodied.
Hey now, it's not overly remarkable, but quite drinkable for an RIS, the abv% is well hidden. This would make a great gateway or stepping stone stout into the style. If you're not a stickler for boundaries this would also make a great short term session ale for a stout, as that abv% would catch up with you sooner than later.
05-14-2009 06:43:43 | More by IronDjinn
3.68/5 rDev -0.3%
500ml bottle purchased at the brewery. bottled april 16/09. sampled may 12/09.
pours deep dark brown, not quite black but still fairly opaque. a small dense brown head forms, dropping fairly quickly and leaving a thin sheet of lace.
aroma is nice. caramel and toffee. butterscotch. maple. date and fig. almond and pecan. milk chocolate. actually, turtles would be a good comparison. wheat bread. bit of alcohol.
taste is nice. fairly high bitterness level. dark and bittersweet chocolate. date, fig, plum. light alcohol, but not nearly 9% worth. whole wheat bread. biscuit. bit of cracker. while the aroma was more sweet/fruity/nutty, the taste is more typical for a stout - though it doesn't seem to have the same "oomph" as most russian imperials. it definitely fills out as it warms.
mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. medium-low carbonation level. fairly dry finish.
drinkability is good. nice balance. the bitterness feels a little high, but i think with some time in the cellar it might come together more. the aroma seems off for the style too, but the rest of it meshes pretty well.
05-13-2009 02:25:55 | More by grub
3.6/5 rDev -2.4%
Here's another beer from mjohnston received in an in-person trade on DLD '09.
Pours super dark brown to black with an attractive, super cream light mocha head with big "halo lacing" running up the sides of my KBS tulip. Good head retention.
Smells, to my surprise, like a smoky vanilla coffee! I know, it's strange, but that's what I get!
Medium bodied with low carbonation on the mouth. Flavors like the nose come through with a smoked meat AND creamy or lactose quality as the predominant flavor. It's almost salty to me... I definitely get oats in this, as well. The aftertaste brings coffee and heavily roasted malts to the forefront, along with traces of earthy hops.
Prolly my favorite from the Canadian assortment pack I received on Dark Lord Day- thanks again!
05-12-2009 23:36:31 | More by beachbum1975
2.35/5 rDev -36.3%
Thanks to beachbum1975 for sharing this brew.
500ml brown bottle poured into a snifter.
A: Pours deep brown with light throught the edges. A good head forms and holds for a minute or two. Good lacing.
S: Big lactic nose. Actually almost smells a touch sour. Not much roast or char or anything that needs to be there.
T/M: Not big at all. Some lactose up front. Not much roast or depth. No alcohol. A bit of odd coffee thats wierd with the lactose. Body is only about medium and it feels a bit flat.
D: Not very tasty, and not on style. It'd be pretty drinkable is those two where right.
05-12-2009 23:24:25 | More by pwoods
3.6/5 rDev -2.4%
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
04-05-2009 04:50:07 | More by Sammy
3.65/5 rDev -1.1%
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).
04-04-2009 17:08:07 | More by bobsy
Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.