Russian Gun Imperial Stout - Grand River Brewing
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Ratings: 120 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
4.04/5 rDev +9.5%
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.
12-17-2012 19:43:21 | More by thehyperduck
3.53/5 rDev -4.3%
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.
11-24-2012 21:53:05 | More by jaz58
2.15/5 rDev -41.7%
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...
08-27-2012 20:25:13 | More by Jeffo
3.73/5 rDev +1.1%
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.
04-25-2012 19:21:47 | More by SebD
3.68/5 rDev -0.3%
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.
02-18-2012 00:47:35 | More by WeedKing4
3.18/5 rDev -13.8%
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.
01-27-2012 21:53:51 | More by EgadBananas
3.53/5 rDev -4.3%
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.
01-24-2012 20:01:16 | More by spinrsx
3.68/5 rDev -0.3%
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.
01-15-2012 06:08:12 | More by MattyV
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
12-29-2011 04:08:46 | More by Foddz
3.53/5 rDev -4.3%
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.
12-17-2011 03:23:21 | More by Digimaika2
Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.