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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial StoutMarshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

521 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 521
Hads: 2,475
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 9.81%
Wants: 1,184
Gots: 846 | FT: 78
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BigMcLargeHuge on 11-17-2008

This Russian Imperial Stout is dedicated to Georgy Zhukov, arguably one of the finest generals of World War II. Opaque black in color, with notes of espresso, chocolate, dark toffee and hints of backstrap molasses. The English hop varietals provide a subtle herbal dryness, and finishes with a hearty slap of roasty espresso. Pair Marshal Zhukov’s with Mushroom Solyanka, dark chocolate, cherries and ground wars in Russia.

We brew and release Zhukov's in the summer knowing that a beer of this heft reaches its full potential a few months after release. So save a bottle for the cold winter!

80 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 521 | Hads: 2,475
Photo of dar482
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a deep black color with very dark chocolate brown head.

The aroma is huge of sweet sweet caramel and toffee notes. Lots of licorice, a touch of smokiness, chocolate, hoppy wood character, dark fruit.

The flavor follows with a thick sticky rolling amount of bittersweet chocolate with a bit of coffee. There's then lots sweet toffee notes and then a kick of bitterness on the end that cleans the beer up. It's extremely complex as it rolls of coffee, chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, and a balanced, but strong hop character. Touches of smoke, licorice, molasses.

A full, but clean and smooth mouthfeel.

One of best non-barrel aged imperial stout I've had.

Having had '13 and '12 of this, I can say I prefer it fresher. It just had more complexity and brightness to it.

The beer reminds me of Founders Imperial, but sweetness and more balanced.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle 11,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
2010 Vintage

Thanks to my buddy futura123 for this one.

Appearance: From pictures I had seen, Marshal Zhukov was almost guaranteed to get a 5 on appearance, however the almost inaudible hiss upon cracking the cap might put this in jeopardy. The pour lives up to my expectation - thick, viscous and black as Satan's heart. Needless to say the beer appears pitch black in the glass, with a back light not even managing to reveal a micron of red along the edge. Sadly my initial concern regarding the carbonation appear justified, as even the most vigorous of pours only manages to generate a very thin layer of foam. The foam that does generate is a beautiful dark mocha colour - I can just imagine how good this would look with a full head! A swirl coats the glass in a thick brown residue, that fades into heavy alcohol legs (this is going to be a bitch to clean).

Smell: Holy hell, now this is what I call a nose - you can smell this from a mile away and boy does it smell good! Massive dark chocolate aromas combine with dark roasted coffee, roasted malt, dark caramel and molasses to form the bulk of the nose. In addition closer inspection of the nose yields notes of: Caramelized/burned brown sugar, sweet dark toffee, a little sweet milk chocolate, burned raisins, a hint of date, some char, a hint of smoke and a little liquorice. As the beer hits room temperature, the nose becomes a lot sweeter, with dark chocolate fudge and a hint of vanilla becoming apparent.

Taste: As the nose promised, the flavour is massive in every way - each sip bombards your taste buds with masses of dark chocolate, sweet dark caramel, molasses and a massive blast of roasted malt towards the finish. Other flavour notes include: caramelized (almost burned) brown sugar, coffee, sweet dark fruits (raisins, dates and maybe a hint of cherry), milk chocolate, a touch of vanilla, some char, a touch of liquorice and a distinct woody note (strange since this has not been aged in any barrels).
The finish is still quite bitter (the 80 IBUs don't seem to have faded after 2 years in the bottle) and lightly dry. There is absolutely no trace of the 11% Abv, which makes this dangerously drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Perfect! As with the rest of the beer, the body is absolutely massive - viscous, chewy and sticky. The carbonation is of a very low level (just perfect for my tastes) and wonderfully smooth.

Overall: Marshal Zhukov is one hell of a beer and is easily one of the best un-barrel-aged imperial stouts I have had! I would highly recommend this for anyone who loves massive imperial stouts. I will certainly be trading for a whole lot more of this!

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Photo of jjdc
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer pours with a beautiful mocha head, but otherwise its inky black. Nose of dark chocolate and raisins. It unfolds in a complex and perfectly balanced set of flavors: Maraschino cherries, cocoa, raisins and espresso. The mouthfeel is perfect. This is all around one of the best beers I've tasted. Cheers to Cigar City.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A – This brew is darker than the days of Stalin, with a Bolshevik-brown head which is quickly severed, leaving splattered rusty crimson stains on the glass wall.

S – The aroma is so big that not even the Iron Curtain could curtail it. Impressions of aromatic non-Warsaw Pact cocoa, Western coffee, capitalist licorice, Communist Cuban Rum and Ukrainian rawhide emanate even more free than the Soviet people in the days of Glasnost! As it airs out the alcohol sting totally dissipates. Which would be a terrible thing in USSR.

T – The taste is huge; pleasurably acrid and burnt flavors punctuate this brutal brew. Coffee flavor, suggestions of smoke, charred wood and charcoal are initially available with a hearty dose of burnt cocoa on finish. As it warms and airs out, it reveals tremendous new character; cherry, brown sugar, cola, cinnamon and more of an impression of espresso than one of coffee. This is an amazing example of the RIS; keeping with its tradition, it is certainly fit for consumption by even the most bloodthirsty totalitarian maniacs.

M – It is blood-thick. Plenty viscous for the brutality of the roast.

D – This brew is absolutely nuts, the raw rugged real deal.

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Photo of sharpy26
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smells of deep roasted espresso, alcohol, and burnt sugar.

Taste is incredible. Just deep dark malts that coat the tongue. No alcohol taste present at all. Lots of different flavors with a chocolate aftertaste.

I bought the bottle and then stored in the refrigerator for several months, so that could have played a factor. This stuff is dark. One of the best imperial stouts I have ever tasted.

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Photo of maximum12
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to moose3285 for throwing this into a friggin' incredible box of Cigar City brews that arrived not long ago. Mike, you are on my list of people to speak up for when judgment day rolls around.

Pours black. Thick black, like the lakes around here, which are so ready to freeze at the first solid cold snap. The head is sunburnt tan, really wild reddish tint to it. Purty. The smell is divine, heavy on the chocolate & malts, hold the hops. Bonus points for the both the cool bottle as well as the historical figure...gives my old History Minor a little goose.

Marshal Zhukov would have been thrilled to learn he's been reincarnated as this brew. Wow. This bastard has depth like the Mariana Trench. Roasted, firethrower-tarred malts are all over the place, but there's a warm coffee element, balanced out by a smattering of chocolate applause, & a sweet sling of hoppy nip at the end. All of which melds into a single chorus of happy.

The balance on this monster is remarkable. None of the tastes or apparent ingredients outweights any of the others, & all seem to insist on complementing one another rather than playing Soviet & Capitalist. Rich, creamy, warming. Really, words fail me.

This beer is borderline perfect. I am delighted to unexpectedly have another one in the basement (thanks mully) which I will hold onto for a while. Although I cannot see how aging this would make it any better.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black as pitch, light cannot penetrate. Looks like motor oil in the glass! The head was thin and dark, dark brown. Chocolate, dark fruit, licorice on the nose, nice aroma. Sweet up front with hints of anise and licorice. Dark chocolate follows with a great dark fruit, slightly bitter finish. Thick mouthfeel with no carbonation to speak of. Overall, this may well be the greatest non-BA Russian Imperial Stout I've ever had!

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks schwaeh for sharing this bottle with me-

A: Poured dark as night with one finger head that dissipated into a thin coffee colored lacing.

S: Chocolate,molassas,toasted malt,coffee.

T: Chocolate with dark roated malt,slight vanilla,slight bitter coffee, anise.

O: "WOW" I was blown away at how delicious this RIS was ,I loved the way it coats the tounge and leaves an oil slick residue on the glass , the thickness of this stout is out of this world, Very well made and will definitly seek out again..

Thanks again Steve.

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Photo of xpdrinker
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - 25.4oz bottle courtesy of biggsbowler (thanks!). Bottle July '11. Pours like sludge. Super pitch black, monster dark brown head. 

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, booze-soaked dark fruit, molasses and a little raisin. Little bit of vanilla.

T - Cocoa, chocolate truffles, slightly nutty. Dark fruit, vanilla. Fantastic.

M - Like a bucket of black paint. Carbonation has faded a little but this thing coats the mouth and stays. You can almost chew on it.

O - This is probably not only my favorite stout but also my favorite beer. Perhaps it's destiny that it's released the same month as my birthday. I'll be getting an entire case next year.

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Photo of ccrida
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle (thx Dstructo), 9 months old, poured into my Delirium snifter, Marshal Zhukov's is pitch black with an almost brick colored light brown head, exceptionally dark, leaving foamy lace. Impressively imposing.

Smell is good but odd, there's an almost quinine like fruitiness that is very Belgianesque. Man, I really like it, just a hint of phenols and ethanol when I really bury my sniffer keep it from a 5.

Taste is big but surprisingly smooth and well integrated. Massive roastiness, with more of the fruity esters, maybe the London ale yeast, I really dig the depth it provides. In fact, I really dig this RIS period, super impressive. I've had a few drain pours from these guys, apparently it's all strikes and gutters. I'm shocked with how much I'm enjoying this beer and how easily it's going down. I had it at a tasting about 4 months ago, but it was a long night of crazy beers and this one didn't get a chance to stand out - but the 110k + OT I brought sure did, it was nasty, dirty heat. None here, though, strait butter.

Mouthfeel is very thick, viscous, mouth coating stickiness, substantial but not to heavy in the belly.

Drinkability is damn good. This is a massively rich RIS, yet it's really smooth and enjoyable as hell. As much as I like to cellar beer, I can't really see a compelling reason to sit on this on for much longer other then to experiment, as it's drinking excellent now. The tail end of ski season here in Oregon, I'm glad I didn't wait 6 months for next season.

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Photo of timc100
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fresh 2013 vintage.

Pours the darkest black I have ever seen from a beer, even more the Hunahpu's - actually looks like motor oil. The head is very dense and creamy - burnt heavy roast mocha. It leaves a dark mocha stain on the glass with dense lacing. Astoundingly beautiful beer. The aroma is phenomenally - can already tell this is in a whole new league . Sticky molasses, tons of dark fruits - raisins, plums - decadent chocolate; followed by heavily roasted oily espresso beans, cherry, and some vanilla and very slight graham cracker sweetness. It tastes just as big as it smells with the most viscous mouthfeel possible without it being a shake. Very bitter and aggressive - the cherry, vanilla, and dark fruits become more pronounced with warmth.

This is truly an outstanding beer - hands down the most impressive imperial stout that has not been barrel aged or aged with extra ingredients. It has less espresso and more dark fruits than anticipated - kind of like a baltic porter/imperial stout blend. When comparing it to hunahpu it is very difficult because they are two completely different beasts - there are great aspects of this beer that did not shine through Huna. If I could, I would have both of these beers in the cellar at all times.

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Photo of Benish
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Probably the best none-barrel aged Imperial Stout I've tasted!

Appearance: The color was quite simply jet black. While pouring from the bottle it looked thick like motor oil. After swirling it around the glass, the beer stained the surface for some time time. The surface appeared slick and shiny reddish brown. Overall my friend and I agreed that the beer looked like soy sauce. Its thick and pitch black. It can't get anymore specific.

Aroma: picked up mostly milk chocolate, vanilla, and some molasses. The smell is rich and delightful.

Taste: Starts out sweet with roasted malts and finishes with intense bitter dark chocolate. At the beginning of the sip I picked up some sweet vanilla and then it started to become more rich in molasses. However the finish was the extra kick. Finishes complex and bitter with a ton of chocolate! It's not so boozy; very very smooth, the flavors transition one after another really well.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and heavy bodied. Slick in the mouth.

Overall: I love it. I've had many Imperial Stouts and I started to feel there were not much differences between many of them. But this stands out. The complexity of the beer is incredible, most particularly the bitter chocolate finish. Seek this out!!

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Photo of mendvicdog
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this at the DC bottle share at the Smoke and Barrel on October 14, 2012.

Appearance is exactly what you expect in a big stout, dark with a little creamy head.

Smell not that intense, but very pleasant, a little smoke and a tiny tart fruit

Taste is similar to smell; no surprises. The alcohol is hidden well in this beer. Mouthfeel just so smooth.

The whole beer is just what I would call smooth deliciousness.

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Photo of Danny1217
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black, like ink. You can literally see the thickness of it. Not much head to speak of, but the intensity of the black color speaks in itself. Smells very roasted. Some hops coming through (it is a very fresh bottle, so the hops are all in tact) as well as dark fruits, chocolate, espresso, toffee, and booze. The alcohol on the nose is powerful, and actually frightening. Fortunately, the alcohol is completely hidden beneath the bold flavors. Bitter chocolate, roasted malts, espresso, figs, and a floral hop bitterness. Bitter and powerful. Flavorful even as imperial stouts are concerned. Each sip coats my mouth with its deliciousness. A somewhat light carbonation makes it feel so creamy. This beer is viscous and full bodied.

Could be the best RIS I have had. Definitely one of them. I need to find some more of this and see how it does with age.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found a botle of Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout at my local Whole Foods in Manhattan. When did Cigar City start sending the Zhukov up here??

Appearance: Huge bottle onto my Sierra snifter. God this thing pours thick and then some! Outrageous. Pure Kuwaiti oil with a pitch-black color to match, plus an oversize head the size of a fist. Carbonation issues? This thing sure did pop out with a bang and overflowing, which is rare for an Imperial Stout... all in all, though, this looks exceptional indeed.

Smell: Booze, sweetness, chocolate powder, dark fruit, a hint of sourness.

Taste: The hops shine here, along with strong chocolate and cold-brewed coffee. Some smoke as well, very subtle. A tad of anise and a dry, spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally rich, creamy and sleek/slick, with a nice hoppy/tingly feel at the end of the sip. Dry, reverberates in the mouth long after you're done. A tummy-warmer for sure!

Overall: Damn good this is! One of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever enjyoed, no doubt. From the looks to the last drop, this is truly outstanding. Worth the price of admission and then some! The alcohol is the only aspect of this beer that gets on the way of sheer enjoyment. Boozy, it requires sipping. I took over 90' to finish this...

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Photo of Dnayew
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Not the same animal as CCB's Hunapuh, but probably the finest baseline RIS on the planet. Outstanding beer. This is what a Russian Imperial Stout should taste like.

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Photo of shand
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Cigar City snifter. 2011 batch.

Woohoo! This batch of Zhukov's surely has no carbonation problems! It pours an absolutely impressive (my roommate said he'd be afraid to drink it) pitch-black color with a voluminous, three finger+ dark chocolate coloured head (it escaped the glass, even on a slow pour). Retention and lacing are both great. The aroma is absolutely full of big roasty flavors of coffee and malts, as well as dark fruits. The taste is huge, with massive amounts of dark fruits, roasted coffee, and silky-smooth coffee. Looking for anything subtle? Well, there's some slight herbal hop aspects, but in general you aren't going to find "subtle" here. Zhukov's is like a sledgehammer of flavor direct to the face.

The mouthfeel? This is the biggest, thickest stout ever. Ten Fidy doesn't have shit on this. It'll coat your mouth for minutes after you take a sip. The light, but still noticeable carbonation helps this go down very easily. The drinkability is very good for the high ABV and the thickness, only the smallest hint of alcohol is available. This is the batch of Zhukov's to make anyone a believer. This is one of the best big stouts I've ever had. Be on the lookout for the 2011 bottles. If you see them, get as many as you can. It'll be absolutely worth it.

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Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me give a big thanks to fogdog for a great trade!

Not sure I've ever given out this many 5's to a beer, but this one really deserves it. Pours a thick motor oil color (as stated in a previous review thought it really fit) with a chocolate brown head that fades sloooowly leaving a nice amount of lace around the glass.

Smell is of herbs, molasses, some hops, and something else I can't describe.

Taste is phenomenal! Dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, caramel, herbs, some peppery notes, and bitterness from the hops. Thick mouthfeel and not sugary sweet. The alcohol is ever so slightly present and it makes for a very drinkable beer. There is so much going on in this beer that I just can't believe it! Wow wish I could just buy this by the truck load. One of the best RIS's I've ever had.

Very well balanced not overly sweet from the malts, not overly bitter, just right in my book, and not the least bit watery, again it has a very creamy thick mouthfeel. What a great beer.

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Photo of dayvinn87
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So, this is the stout that started my romance with stouts. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before. When I ordered a glass (at 11$) I was hoping that the hype surrounding this beer would be true. As soon as I put the glass up to my face the chocolatey-espresso smell punched me in the nose. I tipped the glass up and the motor oil slowly slid into my mouth. The chocolate and espresso flavor was instant and the gulp did not leave me with any bitter or spicy taste. The feel was smooth and I knew I had found my favorite beer.

Excellent beer. The only reason I didn't give it a perfect score is because I want to remain optimistic that there is something better out there, even though I doubt there is.


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Photo of GetMeAnIPA
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage

Oh man! This beer is legit. A ton of flavors that overwhelms the palate with flavor but remains balanced and pretty easy to drink....not sure how that's possible but it is. Flavors are espresso, licorice, chocolate and a nice addition of a dark sweetness like candied sugar and fruits like raisins.

Wish I could drink this more often so I can see how it compares to my favorites because right now it's on the top. Unfortunately I've only had it this one time.

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Photo of dstc
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black color, completely dark. Very small brown head, one of the darkest beers and heads I've seen. Head falls to nothing, thin, chocolate lace.

Deep, robust, roasted malt aroma with coffee hints.

Nice dry bittersweet chocolate flavor up front followed by a bitter coffee flavor ending with a lingering bitterness. Absolutely wonderful flavor.

Mouthfeel is full and thick. Very chewy and very smooth.

Holy crap. Not my favorite style but this is the greatest stout I've ever had. Awesome.

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Photo of themind
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Pours dark as night with a coffee roast and molasses aroma. The mouthfeel is amazing! this beer is creamy and goes down very smooth. The abv is mostly hidden with little to no burn. This beer deserves it's rating, just a finely crafted imperial stout. Would I buy again, YES! There are other RIS brews out there that overcome this masterpiece but they are few in number.

Bottom Line: Great RIS, defining the style.

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Photo of Finatic
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml bottle shared with friends and poured into a miniature Cigar City sifter.

A: Awesome black like motor oil appearance. A nice light brown fluffy head with some lacing and decent retention.

S: The chocolate and coffee undertones just strike your nose as soon as the bottle is uncapped.

T: A lovely chocolate, coffee taste overwhelms the palate. Nice hidden taste of burnt malts comes out as the beer warms.

M: Perfect carbonation and the alcohol is well hidden, a very easy beer to drink given the high ABV.

O: Cigar City has nailed this one right on the nose, my favorite Russian Stout so far in my limited array into the RIS arena.

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Photo of afksports
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this on cask, and tap twice, but most recently on tap so that's what we're going with. Had it at the CCB event at Blind Tiger on 11/17. Some crap post nasal drip had me tackled, so I was only able to enjoy this and the Peach IPA. Argh, Novemberrr!

It pours a thick black with a dark tan/brown, almost khaki and red head. The finger thing stuff dissipates and leaves not much lacing, but keeps some decent legs. It's pitch black. No wonder the Germans couldn't beat this guy. They couldn't see. The smell is just as fantastic, with coffee, espresso and chocolate predominating. Burnt notes are there, caramel, toffee. Taste is out of this world too. Everything that's in the nose is in the drink, plus a sweetness that covers the booze.

It feels great going down, with the only knock being that there's not much variation on the velvety smoothness. I will drink as many of these as I can get my hands on. While I'm still standing.

And if November colds don't get in the way.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Birthday beer for this birthday boy. Had this in the cellar for about six months. Crack-a-lack time.

Pours a black as night brew pour with a beautiful beige foamy head. Not much lacing but who cares?

The aroma is big chocolate, and molasses goodness. Light boozy burn in the nose but really sweet smelling. Some tobacco, jerky and shoe polish as well.

The taste is more on the chocolate side. Rich and creamy. Toffee does come out well here though the 11% is almost non-existent......until I stood up. Some roastiness and coffee bean on the aftertaste.

Overall this was a big want for me and I was able to procure a bottle from Letspour. I was not disappointed. This is a fantastic RIS that deserves the love it gets. Seek it out and enjoy. Definitely worthy of a birthday beer.

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 521 ratings.