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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing

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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: 837 | 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 MNishCT77
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from a Sat., 12/20/2014 Better Beer Authority Bottle Share (thanks, Richard H..), unknown vintage (2013?), poured into a BBA snifter glass, drank over 15 minutes

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into a hotel glass

A: Deep dark abyss of blackness with a chocolate shake head good lacing

S: rich roast, molasses, dark fruits, chocolate, some coffee

T: It's decadent with chocolate a roasted Carmel and coffee taste a light sweetness

M: It's creamy and thick if lays n your tongue like it belongs there

O: This is everything a stout should be one of the most beautiful and rich examples it's roasty slightly coffee tasting thick lush on the mouth it's a delight to drink. This is a beg borrow or steal kind of stout do yourself a favor find it.

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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 Chriscrundwell12
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a tasting glass. Thanks Kevin for sharing this.

A- Pours a thick dark black body, ½ finger tan chocolate head, nice lacing, very opaque, decent carbonation.
S-The aroma is very nice, cocoa, dark malts, vanilla, some brown sugar, big roasted notes, coffee, caramel.
T- The taste is very similar to the aroma, cocoa, chocolate, hints of vanilla, brown sugar, nice roasted coffee comes out as well, caramel, slight dark fruits (cherries, plums) dark malts.
M- Big mouth feel, thick body, well carbonated, smooth drinking.
O- This beer was enjoyable, I have yet to come across a CCB beer that was a disappointment, I would love to revisit this beer some time down the road.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours dark dark brown, basically black, no light passes through, with a rich chocolate brown head that settles to a thin layer and laces lightly. Haven't seen a head that dark in a while.

S: Molasses and umami almost soy sauce like notes dominate, with faint roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit.

T: Molasses and dark sugar, roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, earthy, a little dark fruit, maybe a hint of smoke.

M: Full body, moderately low carbonation, smooth, alcohol is well hidden.

O: All the molasses-y goodness separates this one from most RISs I've had. Different, but very cool. Time has treated this one well.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 2012 vintage 750 ml bottle into a Cigar City Brewing branded snifter

Pours a thick, viscous dark midnight black capped by by a dark brown one and half finger head. I'm always amazed by how Zhukov pours; this is one huge, thick RIS. Strong roasty malt, bakers chocolate, boozy alcohol, and dark fruit. One sip brings an explosion of flavor, charred dark chocolate malt, huge plum, prune, and black cherry notes, molasses which finishes with continued bold roasted malt, dark roast coffee/espresso, and warming alcohol. Ridiculously complex. The mouthfeel of this brew leaves nothing to be desired, huge and viscious, oily, velvety, creamy and silky. The most full-bodied brew that I've ever had and possibly the best mouthfeel of any brew I've had. As far as I'm concerned Marshal Zhukov is the one of the standards for Russian Imperial Stouts. Quite possibly the best brew I've ever had in the style.

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Photo of beerhan
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 into a wine glass. Thick black motor oil. Very glad this was split among 8 of us or so. This stained the glass for sure. Smells like straight up booze with some dark chocolate and licorice in there. Tastes incredible especially as it warms up. There are some subtle cocoa notes as well as a hint of coffee towards the end. It is sure a sipper. It feels so thick and chewy in the mouth it is a meal in itself. This is a delicious beer but it is really hard to get down unless you take real small sips but nonetheless very memorable.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BrewerDan23, again...another thank you Dan! Pours from a 750ml capped bottle into my Portsmouth tulip/snifter glass. Pours a dark color, not as black as Hunahpu's...almost creamier in appearance. Pitch black in appearance in the final pour. Huge toffee colored thick creamy, yet frothy head with great retention! Leaves a decent amount of sticky lacing around the glass.

Aroma is inviting! While a roasted coffee like aroma is the most prominent, the sweetness resides in the back ground leaving my mouth watering! Not an incredibly strong aroma, but solid, and good!

Not as sweet as I thought it would be, but very good none-the-less! Huge chocolate notes, semi-thick malts, only a slight sharpness from hops rests in the background. Mouthfeel is creamy, milky, semi-thick body. A wonderful heat/burn in the mouth and down the throat from the big ABV. I really, really want to try the BA version of this! Carbonation is pretty low, but perfect for the style. Another solid and tasty beer from Cigar City!

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Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beast of a beer all around.This is up there with Ten Fidy,Speedway stout...and any top non barrel aged beer.this one can compete with the best of them.Would love to try the BA version.

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Photo of unclejimbay
3/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Potentially impressive beer, but unfortunately lacked any carbonation, non whatsoever. I have heard that carbonation may be an issue with this batch, and this bottle is indeed a victim. Purchased ~10/2010 from Broudy's Liquors in Jacksonville Beach, FL. This was a recently delivered batch in October 2010. I opened the 750ml bottle on 1/17/2011 which had been cellared at 68F for ~ 3 months, opened on time in January as suggested on the bottle. This is the first problem Cigar City beer I have ever drank over the past 2 years more than a couple dozen or so 750 bottles and kegged beers.

Dark brown/black in color with no head or carbonation.
Aromas of dark roasted malts, coffee, unsweetened cocoa.
Tastes as it smells, with some mildly sweet boozy abv, much less bitter than I have seen others noted.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, as thick as a beer can get. Poured like motor oil on a cold day, with no carbonation at all.

I hope to try this again with proper carbonation. Seems like an impressive big daddy stout when enjoyed as intended. I will standby for another taste.

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Photo of baggio
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Dark as coal with a creamy brown head.

S: Caramel, Chocolate, Roasted malts, Butterscotch.

T: Caramel, Roasted malts, Milk chocolate, Cocoa, Ripe fruit.

M: Low carbonation and very high residual sweetness in this one. Smooth and robust.

A good imperial stout that reminds me of 3F Dark Lord because of the big sweetness. Very good stuff.

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Photo of QuentinCall
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

"I just wasn't prepared for it to bitchslap me with every sip."

This beer lumbers out of the growler: viscous, jet-brown and seemingly denser than physically possible. A foamy head the color of wet sand and milky espresso blooms and slowly settles to a sizable and velveteen layer. It's fascinatingly dark, honestly, darker than Expedition, darker than KBS. I feel like congratulations and chain e-mails and newscasts are in order to acknowledge that Cigar City has made the Black Materia of beers.
The roast profile of this beer is fairly astonishing and forthrightly stands as the dominant aspect of the nose -- a capacious and multi-faceted coffee foundation (somehow concurrently bright, earthy, robust and sodden) roundly supported by raw chocolate notes, a substantial dose of oak and traces of syrupy stone fruits.
This is an aggressive beer. The roast is translated and follows logically to the taste. Again, coffee dominates at every turn but it is, mostly, fitted neatly to lovely moments of bittersweet ganache, bourbon, and molasses. And while I think its delicious as well as a potential touchstone for its style, its also a little overwhelming for me. Simply, super heavy + intensely upfront roastiness = the slowest of sippers.
The mouthfeel here is the key asset and what ultimately clinches this for me. It is plush, wet, not overly carbonated (which I can easily imagine dooming this one) and not as sticky as the nose could very well lead you to believe. Thankfully, it lasts for a while and not much longer.
This is a massive and blatantly militant beer that could readily be construed as magnificently executed or somewhat overwhelming and unbalanced. However, what I feel is the most important thing to keep in mind: be amongst friends, you probably shouldn't drink this one by yourself.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my snifter. Huge thanks to RyanSchwam for this monster. My first CCB ever!

A - pours jet, jet black. One of the blackest beers I've ever seen. Lots of head, almost a waterfall effect like Guinness. The foam is the darkest brown. Great looking beer.

S - lots of malt, some hints of anise and coffee, maybe some chocolate on the bass note. The alcohol is detectable, but not overbearing.

T - I've been into Ten Fidy lately, so I'm implicitly comparing all RISs to that right now. MZ is pretty good, but the malt overwhelms, which is a trap to which many RISs succumb. Objectively, it's delicious.

M - goes down like a dream. The alcohol makes it somewhat syrupy, but nothing significant to complain about.

O - I asked Ryan for two bottles of this one because I was going to age the one that I didn't drink, but I'm not sure there are any flavors that need substantial toning down. Good beer, I'll certainly get it again if I'm ever in Florida.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer. Its very dark and really good. Is it worth the hype, or the difficulty to get one? Maybe but I have had just as good that were not nearly as difficult to obtain.

Appearance: One of the darkest beers I have ever seen. Head is pretty benign when it was poured but then it began to rise above the top of the pour for a second or two then settled into a nice lacing pattern. Very dark khaki colored head sits on top throughout the drinking of it and it has a nice clinging lacing pattern on the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Not as bold as I would have expected. Its pretty much a chocolate and molasses bomb. Very sweet and roasty on the nose.

Taste: Sweet imperial stout flavors dominate. It honestly reminds me a lot of Ten Fidy which is a lot easier to come by and cheaper. It is what it is, sweet but not too sweet an a lot of molasses on the tongue. It does have a fantastic mouthfeel , smooth and thick but not too much. The roasted notes are not too burned and its not overly alcoholic in the flavor profile.

Overall: I have had a lot of stouts, this is a very good one, on par with some of the best, but its not the best I have had and considering the difficulty obtaining it, I would say its worth seeking out if you are interested otherwise there are a lot of great options out there these days. I would love to try a barrel aged version of this, I imagine it would be amazing!

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cigar City may be the first great Florida brewery (although I am also a big fan of St. Somewhere). I've had several of their beers now, and other than the Jai Alai, they all have a similar taste profile. Somewhat smokey, espresso like flavors. This one is very well balanced, even a bit on the sweet side. Dark as motor oil, very little head. ABV does not overwhelm, and the beer gets better by the sip. Already one of my favorite imperials. I have yet to have a Cigar City beer I didn't like, and I hope to make it to the brewery at some point.

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Photo of domtronzero
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark brown, clear with a low, short lived mocha-colored head. Thick and oily, this one looks heavy for sure.

S - Chocolate, roast, boozy alcohol. Sweet dark malts (raisiny).

F/M - Rich dark fruity malts, heavy melanoidins, raisins, prunes. nice dry roastyness. Chocolate and a little smoky. Medium high bitterness accentuated by dark malts. Oily, thick, viscous, full body with moderately low carbonation. Lingering smoky chocolaty flavor.

D - Excellent for such a huge beer. I could keep topping off this glass all night. World class for sure.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours viscous black with no head whatsoever.

S. Chocolate malt with some sweetness, some spiciness, and a touch of smokiness.

T. Roasted chocolate malt with a touch of molasses sweetness. Roasted malt and coffee bitterness lead to a dry finish.

M. Thick and viscous with very little carbonation. Somehow this works better than the higher carbonation in Hunahpu's.

D. Very good. Doesn't stand out against a lot of the beers we've had, but a very solid beer.

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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 RomaniIteDomum
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks black with a small head that doesn't last too long. Not bad, I guess.

Smels of coffee, vanilla, cream, and some chocolate.

Taste follows the nose with some caramel thrown in there.

In the mouth it is actually deceptively creamy. Nice.

Pretty damn drinkable with no hint of alcohol. This will sneak up on you if you're not paying attention.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into tulip.

A - Pours a deep black, very little brown head or bubbles. Leaves a sticky coat on the glass.

S - Excellent nose. Lots of chocolate and toffee. Coffee, vanilla, dark fruits.

T - Strong depth of flavour. Roasted coffee mainly but was competing with the chocolate, sweet chocolate, not bittersweet. The vanilla is there as well as a very nice strong flavour of molasses.

M - Very smooth, heavy, lingering. Excellent

O - Quite a tasty beer. Not quite a sipper like so many other RISs (this is a good thing!)

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Photo of pmlondrigan
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a serious beer, black, really no head and very little carb. Looks like motor oil. Smells like rich dark roasted malt, vanilla, coffee, crazy dried cherries, raisins and faint notes of alcohol. Tastes the same. Chocolate, coffee, lots of vanilla, oaty, leathery fruits. Really thick and heavy, slightly cloying to me. A little hot from the alcohol and a little sharp. Is it drinkable, yeah...would I want another tomorrow, no.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage poured into Founder's Bolt Cutter glass

Pour: This is without a doubt the thickest beer I have ever personally poured or poured for me. I mean this has to be the closest thing to motor oil that I have ever put in my mouth! It is beyond black and of course no light will be allowed to penetrate this beast. There was a 1 to 2 finger dark, dark brown head and as I poured this my son even made a face and asked "why is it so dark?" I have to agree with him that every aspect of appearance on this screams DARK!! Lacing is really not evident.

Smell: Loads of roasted malts up front with a touch of smoke. There is chocolate, some coffee and some dark spices of some sort that I can't pick out.

Taste: Like in the smell there is a ton of roasted malt notes leading into some mild bitter coffee and a wonderful full chocolate taste. I am also picking up a wonderful vanilla coated coffee beans like taste. The complexity but balance on this beer is unreal! A bit of hop bitterness takes hold mid palate and a bitter burnt coffee in the aftertaste. Absolutely wonderful!!

Mouthfeel: Well what is a motor oil like beer supposed to feel like? Obviously this is super thick and chewy to the point of being a satisfying meal. It covers every corner of my palate with it's syrup like consistency and does not let go! I love it! The alcohol is barely noticeable.

Overall: I love the balance of this. It is such a huge roast bomb but somehow everything is held together without any one aspect overpowering. This with the appearance and mouthfeel of this beer makes this without a doubt an A+ beer!!

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Photo of wspscott
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle in Duvel tulip
(no date)

A: Pours completely black, wife said looks like molasses, I think it looks like motor oil, thick/viscous looking, no head at all, almost looked flat.
S: Burnt sugar/very dark caramel, molasses, a hint of dark fruitiness as it warms.
T: Lots of roasted malts combined with dark caramel malts leads to a bittersweet combination. As it warms, I get a hint of licorice. No noticeable hops.
M: A huge amount of residual sugars makes for a creamy, round mouthfeel. A very low level of carbonation, just enough to provide a slight tingle.
D: Very much a sippin' beer, an excellent night cap, but very hard to imagine having a 2nd pour. Highly recommended for anyone who likes over the top RISs.

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Photo of djmichaelk
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, chilled then warmed a bit, into a snifter.

A - Pours black, with auburn edges. Solid finger of mocha-colored head, with great retention and lacing.

S - Very nice. Cheerios, roast, dark chocolate, and a sweetness that lurks around in the shadows.

T - Lots of roast and dark chocolate here, and coffee-like notes. Chicory and nuttiness mid-palate. A sweet caramelized sugar finish. A bit of alcohol in the finish. Very warming. Everything I'd like to have in an RIS. Among the best of the regularly available RIS's that I've had.

M - Plenty of carbonation, and it's VERY full, almost like a shake. I've had this several times, and once when trying to finish it quickly I struggled putting it down -- that thick an heavy.

D - Well, the abv is fairly high, so that makes it tough to drink more than a single (large) bottle, but the flavors make me want more and more.

O - This definitely ranks with Speedway as one of my favorite heavy stouts. I love the fact that it's made in the town that I just moved to, and it's available pretty much all the time. At $10, the price is pretty good, too. Certain other breweries in the northeast and midwest would charge $15-20 for this.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a CCB snifter. The beer, as well as the glass, are courtesy of smokinoak in a recent trade. Bottled August 31, 2012.

A - Looks like motor oil on the pour, black and viscous. Tan carbonation rises through the body, almost like a nitro pour. Not much head on this one, but the halo around the edge is thick and long lasting. Spotty droplets clings to the wall of the glass; apparently a cross between lacing and legs.

S - Rich, roasty aroma full of dark fruits. Plum, dates, and dark cherry dance with chocolate and bitter char. Hints of sweet marshmallow and molasses pull it all together. The aroma is complex and delicious.

T - The flavor is an immediate shot to the palate. Strong and complex with a great balance. Initially sweet with the dark fruits of the nose, milk chocolate, and smokey vanilla. The slightest amount of charred bitterness on the back end. Nice mocha finish. Smooth as hell.

M - Thick with a nice subtle carbonation. Coats the tongue and the best way to describe the feel is "soft." Velvety smooth with no alcohol , despite the 11% ABV. One of the best feels to any beer I have had.

O - Cigar City is a tease of a brewery that only distributes (to PA/DE/MD) the beers that I am not very interested in and none of the beers I want. Thank god for trading because Marshal Zhukov is excellent. This is one of the fullest stouts I have had in both flavor and mouthfeel. Easy drinking with great sweet and roasty balance. I got two, so I am really looking forward to opening the other in a few years. If you have access, grab this one. Up there with FBS and Pt5 among the best non-BA stouts, in my opinion.

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