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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

501 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 501
Hads: 2,385
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 1,169
Gots: 772 | FT: 71
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: 501 | Hads: 2,385
Photo of humuloner22
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
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! (1,406 characters)

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (194 characters)

Photo of Benish
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%
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!! (1,248 characters)

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of domtronzero
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (556 characters)

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (463 characters)

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (350 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
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! (431 characters)

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
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!) (542 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (433 characters)

Photo of sleuthdog
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
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!! (1,603 characters)

Photo of QuentinCall
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (1,810 characters)

Photo of djmichaelk
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (1,196 characters)

Photo of wspscott
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
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. (730 characters)

Photo of Arenbeer
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle thanks to my buddy Ryan Bailey for bringing this beer back from Florida over the summer. The bottle said to wait till January so here we go!

Served at cellar temp so 51 degrees into a tulip glass.

A- Pours like sludge. Pure black no light coming through whatsoever with no head at all just a slight brown rim around the glass the forms later. Really really nice slow moving alcohol feet on the side of the glass. This ones gonna be a doozy!

S- Up front is tons of molasses and sweet burnt sugars with a strong roasted malt background behind it. Plenty of nice chocolate notes in there as well with a slight coffee presence but not much at all which is really making me want to dive right in.

T- Super thick and creamy roasted malts up front that are complimented by a really nice molasses/burnt sugar profile. As it hits the back of the throat and goes down this strong espresso and unsweetened bitter chocolate flavor comes out that just dominates the mouth. Definitely a slight alcohol flavor in there but is blended really nicely by the full body. You would barely know its there unless you hunt for it, not boozy at all.

M- Super thick syrup like body with moderate to no carbonation and a nice slight bitter slight wet finish. Excellent.

This is everything I love in a beer. Super thick and loaded with complex flavors other than pure coffee. Same with the mouthfeel, just coats the throat and leaves you wanting more. Unfortunetly due to the thickness it lacks a lot of carbonation which could make this beer easier to drink. This 750 is gonna be tough to get through without some water hah I wish I had another bottle and could have tasted this stuff fresh.

SkÅL! (1,694 characters)

Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (1,655 characters)

Photo of aepb1
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Dark brown/ black with a little dark brown head

S- Strong coffee, come alcohol

T- Roasted coffee, dark, very smooth

M- full bodied, creamy and slick, not a lot of carbonation

D- Great RIS, goes down nice and easy and local, glad they're distributing bombers to me area now (279 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.9/5  rDev +15.3%
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. (575 characters)

Photo of mhksuccess
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into snifter glass
it pours extremely dark almost black
very little head
it smells very smokey
i would say this taste is very smooth, taste of toffee and a sweetness
on the back-end
very balanced hints of lot of flavors but a good mix not one that is overpowering
i spilled a drop with a swirl lol and get a hint of coffee/expresso
overall i find that the hop profile is a little not quite to my tasting
that is why i feel that an overall rating of a 4 possible little lower is what i woudl score
think i may pass on this next time (555 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle shared w/ one other

A - As dark and rich as BA Yeti was, this takes that to an insane new level. Beer clops out of the bottle in chunks and coats the glass like used oil. Blacker than Batman. The head is darkest brown I've seen since big brother Hunahpu.

S - Just an incredible display of roasted malts, this is a very straightforward stout that emphasizes the art of malt selection.

T - Again this stout is the perfect showcase of the roasted malt combined with sweetness. So balanced, this can be, and is, used as a basis for all kinds of incredible barrel aging and secondary fermentations for good reason. They perfected the malt flavors and went from there.

M - Thicker than anything I've had in over a year. This stuff has to be chewed. Perfect finish.

O - Overall this beer is incredible. I've already gone into it, the beer is the perfect imperial stout. I need to try every variant, and every Hunahpu. This beer re-affirmed my adoration of Hunahpu's. WOW. (983 characters)

Photo of alaimoa
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Figured I'd try a random stout I had in the basement for a few months and came away very impressed. Jai is a great IPA and Marshall is amazing so I can only imagine what the Hunapu is like. Jet blac pour with a reddish/brown head and a thin line of lacing. Smell is roasted coffee and burnt sugar and a bit of raisin. Sips an upfront coocoa and roasted coffee with sweetness and a bit of a thin mouthfeel but made up by a lingering full mouth coating sticky sweetness.
Overall it has quite a few layers of flavor. Some people may knock it on sweetness or booziness but I actually like it and think it would develop nicely with some age (635 characters)

Photo of Lerxst
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a tulip

A-Pours like motor oil. Pitch black. A vigorous pour produced just the smallest semblance of a head that disappears right away.

S-Strong dark chocolate notes leap out at me first then some charred malt, dark fruit, coffee and hints of licorice and booze.

T-Dark chocolate leads here too, very prominent. The roasty malt is also rather prominent. Strong coffee/espresso notes come through as well. Hints of dark fruit gently peek their way through as well.

M-Full bodied. Thick, viscous, coating. Just a hint of carbonation. I'm not one who likes a lot of carbonation, particularly in stouts, but this one could use just a slight bit more. Without the carbonation it kind of reminds me of the old Hershey's syrup in the can.

D-Its a sipper for sure, but it is good and enjoyable. But one is certainly enough.

I really love CCB and RIS's, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. I just expected more. It certainly isn't a bad beer at all, so maybe my expectations were set too high by Hunahpu. (OK, I know Hunahpu is a American Double and not an RIS, but I LOVED that beer, so my stout expectations for CCB were high) (1,158 characters)

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (531 characters)

Photo of Auracom
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of my stout tasting on October 22nd, 2011. 6-7 oz. into snifter.

A – Hello Pennzoil, meet Marshal Zukov’s. About as oily-looking as it gets. Pours a flat and true-black with no really hint of brown or any other tone on the edges. Khaki one/two finger head.

S – Lots of roast upfront, but not to the volcanic or ash-like level that some people have claimed. Dark Chocolate, brown sugar and spice, dates and raisins, and a touch of alcohol.

T – More of the same. Quite a bit of bitterness to account for the hops added into the brew. A touch smokey, but again the roasted note takes center stage here back up with a decent mixture of undertones. Reminds me of Founder RIS but with a bit more roast.

M – Quite thick body here. Relatively smooth. Lengthy finisher with a lasting bitter aftertaste.

D – Not an easy one to work through on your own. This was the first beer we ticked off the lengthy list of ~ 30 bottles and I felt that 3-4 ounces would have been ideal. Overall, I think it is judged a bit harsher than it deserves and serves at a great base beer for other CC endeavors (e.g. Hunahpu’s). (1,126 characters)

Photo of injuredreserve
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: thick motor oil black, thin chocolate head that does not last long.

S: dark roasted malts, chocolate,

T: Chocolate, roasted malts. bitter coffee, caramelized sugars. Boozy.

M: thick and syrupy, get me a spoon

D: Fantastic, will make a great winter warmer (262 characters)

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
94 out of 100 based on 501 ratings.