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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing

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

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518 Reviews
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Reviews: 518
Hads: 2,450
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 21.26%
Wants: 1,190
Gots: 836 | FT: 80
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
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Reviews: 518 | Hads: 2,450
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Poured from 750 ml bottle into an efes snifter. Tudor brown head, decent retention. Oily, clear lacing slides down the glass. Aroma consists of roasted malt, coffee, slight alcohol, even a touch of bacony smoke. Taste includes coffee, faint chocolate, slight underlying sweet malt and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is very, very thick and viscous. Certainly more amazing upon warming. Spectacular.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured jet black with thick, dark mocha head that fades slowly into rich, creamy rings. Sticky black legs like molasis run down the edges of the glass. Beautiful.

Bold, rich, roasted coffee punches through dark chocolate, molasis, over-ripe plums and dark cherry notes. Hints of vanilla, tobacco and licorice fade into some warm, inviting, rum fumes in the finish.

Dark chocolate and molasis balanced with roasted malts and black coffee create a background for dark fruit notes of cherry, figs, and plum. Hints of vanilla, dark cola, tobbacco and licorice. Earthy hops balance rum notes in the finish to create a complex and enjoyable beer.

Rich, syrupy, smooth and silky. Warming. Thick and sticky.

Super rich, complex, enjoyable imperial stout. Defninite warming sipper to share on a cold night.

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Photo of zac16125
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter
2011 version, but no specific dates or other distinguishing numbers

A: Pours a viscous, viscous, opaque jet black, with 2 plus fingers width of bubbly yet dense, dark,  chocolate ice cream colored head.  This is the darkest head I've seen on a beer, ever.   Great retention, and takes minutes to dissipate down to a drinkable level.  Leaves a decent amount of lacing.  Amazing looking beer.

S: Very aromatic from the moment I opened the bottle.  Big dark fruit characters with tons of fig and some raisin.  There are even notes of unripe sour plums.  Chocolate aroma is present as well, along with some roasted malt and toffee notes.  The alcohol presence is noticeable but not negatively so.  There is a wood oaky aroma as well.  Lots going on with the nose, but dark fruits are the most prominent.  Very nice.

T: Initial sip gives roasted malts and dark fruit sweetness.  Other flavors noted are fig,  an oak flavor thats bourbon like, milk chocolate,  a nutty character, bitter bakers chocolate on the back end, and even a hint of coconut at one point. Early on its almost too sweet, but as it warms the sweetness is balanced by other flavors including hops and roasted malt, and an earthy grassy flavor.  The flavor profile is complex, with large variations from sip to sip.  Very good.

M/D: Silky smooth, very nice.  A very chewy mouthfeel and does a great job of coating the palate.  About as full bodied as you can get.  Carbonation is very minimal, in a good way, which makes the head and retention that much more impressive.  Pretty good drinkability considering how massive this beer is.  

O: Overall, a great beer.  Really top notch.  Actually it's very similar to Hunahpu , except the Hunahpu flavor profile is slightly ( and I mean only slightly) better, and I actually like it more than rum barrel aged Hunahpu.  A great offering that I highly recommend trying if you can get it.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to injuredreserve for the bottle. Shared with Bilco and angrybabboon

Appearance: Thick, dark, and massive. Pours like motor oil and sludge. So very still. No head. Syrupy and viscous. I've poured some big stouts, but this might be the scariest thing I've ever seen come out of a bottle.

Smell: Char. So very burnt. It's charred and aggressive. Smoke and more smoke. Meat ends. Turn up the grill and burn those malts. Sweetness is in your face. Alcohol pulls through, but is quickly subdued by the all out malt assault. Coffee and cocoa. Holy hell. Some vanilla and dark fruit. It's all about the char.

Taste: Unrelenting malt aggression. Burnt, charred, and sweet. Somehow they've achieved Maillard reaction flavors. Did they cook this with a blow torch? Bitter cocoa and some fresh coffee. Meat and a mellow roasted compliment. It's confusing. Plums and raisins. Cherry. Waves of flavor and depth. Complex and then some.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, slick, and full. It's beastly. So very heavy. Carbonation is almost non-existent. So much body.

Overall: This transcends the levels of normality. We're talking about something that fringes on a solid. It's a beast and a half. So much char that a bottle would be impossible to drink alone. Bring your friends and be astounded.

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Photo of urwithdave
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes taken on 03/20/10. Poured into a CCB snifter at the tasting room at the brewery.

A- Pours black as coal. Two fingers of a dark brown head. Excellent retention and a crazy amount of lacing left behind.

S- Big roasted malts, chocolate, and molasses.

T- Follows the nose. Lots of dark chocolate, roasted malts, and sweet molasses. This beer is heavenly. Some dark fruits are also present, however, I get more of the chocolate with every pull.

M- Nice and creamy. I really want another sip.

D- I was at the brewery at 1050 AM waiting for them to open the doors. I had 3 snifters full for breakfast. I could have kept going well into dinner!!!! I may have needed help walking, but I seriously could have polished off another 3 snifters!

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bomber into my tulip. 2011 vintage.

A – Black. Beyond black. Huge 3 fingers of creamy deep dark brown head that just clings to the glass. Looks like chocolate egg cream froth.

S – Dark chocolate, toffee, molasses, coffee, vanilla.

T – Huge and heavy roasted malts immediately. Full dark chocolate taste right after but not making this overly sweet. It is there but its not a super sweet stout. Vanilla and molasses present. Has a nice bitter effect at the end. Warming alcohol finishes it off.

M – Thick and creamy. It totally coats your mouth from corner to corner. Viscous is the word. Nice.

O – Excellent stout. Its got a great complex taste. Leaves you wanting more. Was an easy drinker considering the ABV. Glad I bought a few of these.

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Photo of s1ckboy
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle with a year of age on it.

A - Black with a nice beep brown small(ish)head.

S - Big. roasty, chocolate, malty

T - Like the nose. Chocolate, roasty, coffee, malty. Very smooth.

M - Very thick, slightly oily. Coats the mouth.

O - Very good. Up there witht the best imperial stouts.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

'13 into a CS snifter. I am totally biased, as this is in my top 5 non BA RIS.

A- Jet black, black as night. Very dark. Decent ring of lacing with good retention.

S- I am getting a beautiful mix of molasses, black liquorice, chocolate, dark fruit, charred dark fruit. All of these things alone I don't like in a beer. But the fragrance is so amazing. I love it!

T- Following the nose with a beautiful harmony of all of the nose characteristics intertwined wonderfully. I feel a bit queer writing about this, but this beer is so fkng good.

M- Exactly what I want a RIS body to be. Thick. Chewy. Viscous. Glory sauce.

O- This is my favorite non-spiced RIS. Unreal. If you want to trade these to me, I will gobble them up. I have been rating under the median lately, but I know that I am over on this one. I am not a homer on this one either. Never lived in FLA, CO boy my whole life. Cheers!

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Photo of Jason_cs
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very viscous as it pours with a jet black color. Has a nice aroma of chocolate with a sweet molasses hint. Tastes very much how it smells and how an imperial stout should taste. Feels very thick as you drink it, in a good way. Overall an excellent beer.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Marshal Zhukov pour flat black into the glass with a very small brown head on top. A few spots of lace stick to the glass.

The aroma is rich with chocolate, roasted malt, nuts, dark fruit (raisin, fig) and a touch of coffee.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is velvety smooth, creamy with light carbonation. The rich flavor is loaded with chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, nuts, and dark fruit (raisin). It finishes mildly bitter with a touch of grass. Once gone the chocolate and nutty notes linger on the palate.

This beer has an awesome mouthfeel with a full flavor that expands as it warms. I hope someday I can get another bottle.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 25 oz bomber into a cigar city snifter. Thank you FLBrew for this guy!

Appearance - Pours a thick, oily, opaque black body with a nice 2 finger milk chocolate colored head that reduces very slowly to release those delicious aromas at a slow pace.

Smell - Strong, potent aromas of dark fruits, dark chocolate, molasses, toasted marshmallows, and coffee beans fill the air. Really inviting.

Taste - Let this one warm up for the flavors to come out. The first flavors to touch the tongue are bold coffee with cream, milk chocolate, vanilla, molasses.. these flavors develop into deep roasty notes, including cocoa, really dark chocolate, roasted malt. The aftertaste is charred and delicious.

Mouthfeel - Thick, rich, and savory. I enjoyed this over a 2 hour period and the flavors and thickness got better as it warmed.

This is what an imperial stout should taste like.. perfectly balanced, rich, complex, flavorful. Doesn't need a barrel or a boat load of crazy ingredients to make it world class.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Original review was a 75cl bottle of the 2012 vintage poured at a recent beer tasting yesterday, 7/21/2013, so about a year old. It was poured into an unlabeled snifter glass at room temperature. The updated review is a 75cl bottle of the 2013 vintage poured into a Cigar City snifter yesterday, 9/11/2013. So the updated review is a reflection of the beer when it's fresh.

The nose gives me a good bit of dark chocolate and definitely molasses, with a bit of hefty espresso in the background. I can tell that this beer is the base for the Hunahpu as I recognize some of the notes here. There is also a bit of hop presence here, kind of like in the Founders' Imperial Stout or Victory Storm King. Smells good.

The beer pretty much pours a super thick, viscous motor oil into a straight up dark brown abyss. It is opaque with a creamy mocha head that extends over a cm and slowly dissipates into nothingness, which leaves the beer a placid pool of blackness. Lacing is there in spots and falls back into the beer as I sip on it. It stains the glass brown as I swirl it, much like Hunahpu does. It's so viscous, thick and hefty. Great looking stout!

As I drink this beer, I recognize the flavours I pick out in the nose. The molasses is definitely strong here, providing a nice dose of pure sweetness that is balanced out by the bitterness of the dark chocolate and espresso notes. The finish is just so dark chocolatey and roasty, it is incredible. In my opinion, this finish is missing in the 1 year old Zhukov compared to the fresh version... in the aged version, there is a lot less espresso and the dark chocolate is really more of a lighter, non-bitter milk chocolate type of flavour. But yeah, the fresh version is very complex with so much intense flavours yet it is so well-balanced and transitions very well with each flavour I pick out. I had to remind myself that this was not aged in bourbon barrels.

The body itself is incredibly thick as I alluded to before.. typical Cigar City stout viscosity and creaminess. Such a full bodied beer, with solid carbonation that drinks so very smoothly and feels creamy. Chewy and decadent. Leaves a finish similar to bitter dark chocolate with some roast marshmallow sweetness and a dash of sweet brown sugar.

An outstanding Imperial Stout. Cigar City knows what they're doing.. well, we all knew that already. Zhukov is a strong, complex beer that will keep you warm and interested. I recommend trying this one at least once when you get the chance. Having tried a bunch of RIS's out there, I can confidently say that I prefer Marshal Zhukov to any of the acknowledged RIS heavyweights such as Darkness, Plead the Fifth, Dark Lord, Ten Fidy, Stone IRS etc. Now if Cigar City released a barrel-aged Marshall Zhukov in bottles.. the world would probably collapse on itself.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The beer was jet black with only a few bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell – The nose was dominated by dark chocolate and malts.

Taste – My initial impression is deep dark chocolate. There is almost a syrupy quality, but it is not too sweet. Burnt malts and a little spiciness are also included, which leads well into a dry chocolate after.

Mouthfeel – The stout clings to the tongue and mouth amid the assault on the taste buds.

Overall – Though not overly chocolatey, this is close to being a chocolate stout. I would certainly seek this one again.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this beer

Review adapted from notes taken 3/31/12

Appearance: Dark, to say the least - pitch black, with a dark brown head - small, spotty lacing - looks like oily sludge, seriously leaves a film on the glass

Smell: Burnt and absurd - an utterly massive amount of malts, like liquified burnt bread, so heavy and so burnt - dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, other burnt aromas

Taste: Burnt chocolate and... malt extract?! - caramel (like, a cube of caramel candy), coffee, sugar, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits - extreme, to say the least - the maltiness is insane, tastes like concentrated extract that should be watered down to make into beer

Mouthfeel: One of the heaviest beers I have ever had, ever - sludgy, extremely heavy, like burnt malt syrup, yet somehow has enough carbonation to hold it together

Overall - This is a monster

Multiple aspects of this beer are simply unbelievable. This is something to make into beer, not a stand-alone product. You could probably eat this with a spoon.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was down in FL for the holidays and I agreed to pick one of these up for someone in MD. The only place I could find it for sale in Gainesville was a beer bar that sold beer to go. I purchased the rather expensive (for me) bottle of beer and proceeded to drink the rest of the night away. The owner of the bar (and a friend of mine) asked me what beer I had bought to go and when I told him (he had not heard of it, been a busy 6 months for him) he promptly bought another one for he and I to share.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass (Delirium tulip). Beer is viscous as it pours from the bottle into the glass, jet pitch as dark as can be black in color. Leaves a residue where the beer hits the side walls of the tulip. There isn't much head or carbonation (its 11% alcohol) but when you swirl the beer a big thick head of really dark brown bubbles (small combining into large) forms and falls away leaving a ton of lacing on the walls. The carbonation level cannot support the head. This beer looks amazing. I've never seen such a dark colored head.

The aroma is overwhelming and complex. The flavor of this beer had better not let me down, the aroma is beautiful. First off its strong. I stick my whole nose into the tulip and breath in. I can smell chocolate and sweet malt. The alcohol is there but its not solventy it adds to the experience and helps accent the roasted coffee flavors. The sweetness is the dominant flavor.

Time to drink finally. The beer was served a little too cold so I held the bowl of the glass in my hand for several minutes enjoying the aroma. Mouthfeel is good, big bodied despite the high ABV, lots of flavors that completely coat the mouth. The alcohol is not as obvious in the beer as it was in the aroma, the flavor is dominated by a strong sweetness (that the alcohol may be contributing to) in the front of a good full malt character and then an avalanche of roasted espresso and coffee in the back of the mouth. Beer continues to surprise by not having an aftertaste. The coffee flavor is present and lingers but there is not secondary flavors. This is a world class beer and one of the, if not the best, Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had. I'm sure the oak and cedar aged versions are even more complex and amazing.

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Photo of phattysbox
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 32oz growler at the Bowery beer room (Whole Foods - NYC).

Poured jet black into a 7 oz tasting glass. Motor oil in color and consistency, one ca tell this is going to be a very viscous brew. A small 1/2 inch chocolate colored head establishes itself and lingers for quite a while. Surprised given the ABV. Looks great int he glass.

Smell: Nose is really complex here. Strong caramel and sweet malts dominate. Burnt raisins, plums, and dark chocolate fill the air when this is poured. Some roast but held in check by copious amounts of malt sweetness.

Taste: Quick flash of acrid roastiness that gives way to coffee-like character. Actually the coffee notes are quite strong in the brew and is very pleasing. The coffee/cappuccino notes mix well with a heavy malt profile. Chocolate covered figs and plums, followed by roasted caramel. The ABV is held in check with this brew - only a slight warming is noted. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and spot on for an RIS.

Overall: Great beer. Glad to be drinking this on a cold winter's night. Lots of complex things going on here - seek it out. I've never tried their barrel versions of this brew so I might have to now.

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Photo of aMILESupreme
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pitch black stout beautifullness.

S: The roasted malts, hint of chocolate and some booze.

T: Russian imperial stout 101, brewed to perfection. complex without being overwhelming. it hits all musts of this variety. Drinks pretty easy even at 11%. really tasty.

O: wish i had bought more. i would love to sit on a few of these and see how they develop.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Blackish brown in color. Very dark brown head poured half inch that quickly disappeared. Smell launches the molasses, espresso, and chocolate. Great taste. Toffee hits at front. I'm imagining it sticking in my teeth, but in a good way. Well balanced dry hops carries throughout but is well balanced with the malts. Not overly bitter. Espresso provides the finish. Very smooth with noticeable carbonation. All in all a great beer.

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Photo of azorie
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

All I can say is outside of the UK, this is best example of a prefect RIS, there is IN FLORIDA.

rich creamy sweet, dark chocolate taste, just heaven... really the rest is just for the eyes.

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Photo of camil1mj
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 release poured at cellar temp into my Founder's snifter,

A: B E A utiful! Deep, dark brown. 2 finger mocha head that is slow to recede. Lots of sticky lacing. One of the best looking stouts I have ever seen.

S: Roasted, chocolately malt.

T: Just like it smells. Deep, dark, silky, roasted chocolate.

M: The thickest, chewiest, creamiest stout I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. This make this one stand out.

O: One of the top 3 non-BA stouts I have had. CCB deserves the acclaim it gets for the stouts they produce.

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Photo of GJ40
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 750ml bottle dated 31Aug2012 in a DFH snifter. Thanks surge1311!!!

A - Deep black with no light. A sturdy tan head that clings nicely to the glass. I enjoyed watching it stick with each sip then oh so slowly slide down the side.

S - Rich malt aromas with molasses, brown sugar, roasted marshmallows, chocolate and coffee. Great depth and complexity.

T - Like the aroma, rich malts dominate. Lots of dark chocolate. Great complexity. Smooth with no rough edges.

M - Thick and chewy yet an aspect of light and airy. Fantastic.

O - This is the stuff oil workers scrape off their shoes. But unlike them, this is not something you wish away. A great brew from an unlikely part of the country.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Obsidian with a dark brown head, perhaps the darkest beer I have ever seen.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, molasses in a delicious nose.

T: Dark chocolate, but sweet, molasses.

M: Full bodied and creamy smooth.

O: This beer is an epic drinking experience. One of the best non-barrel aged imperial stouts I've ever had.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had a couple of these for a while and decided that the return of stout weather justified drinking one.
It is cliche but this is pitch black, pretty much black hole dark.
The most extraordinary thing about this exceptional ale was the smell, tobacco, sticky fruit, heavy like every thing about this.
The taste is the mouth full of malt, roasted malt, after three years in the bottle no hops to speak of.
Thick robust feel.
As you might guess I really like this stuff, maybe as much as some of the 4.75s I gave under the old system. Find this, cellar this , drink this!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very dark three finger thick head on a jet black body. Initially after the pour it's hard to find the head - body transition, an interesting finding. The head stays forever it seems gradually releasing aroma of sweet and dark chocolate, roasted malt, oak/rum, brown sugar and vanilla.Flavor follows with a very complex and dynamic character. Opening with cola, milk chocolate and cream moving to dark chocolate and roasted malts finishing with vanilla and coffe, a great beer. Full, thick body coating the palate and light carbonation. This one lives up to the hype and expectation. A must try.

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Photo of drmcleod10
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Generously shared by John and split between essentially him and I
2013 bottle poured into 2 snifters

A - Dark as night. Thick creamy pour that leaves a 1/4 finger mocha head that resides back into the glass after a moment. Really solid looking stout

S - Smell is huge nose of tobacco with dark fruits, figs and some roasted dark chocolate. One of the most tobacco forward smelling beers I've had

T - Taste follows the nose with huge tobacco and dark fruit flavors on the front followed by bitter dark chocolate and hints of molasses and coffee

M - Creamy full bodied stout with moderate amount of carbonation

O - This was an awesome beer that I was honored to be able to try. Thanks John

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 518 ratings.