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

(Send Samples)
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 RustyDiamond
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Strong Beer Month '04 snifter. Blacker than hell pour with a slowly rising espresso head. Slight bubbly in the middle of the froth, with the top being a darker color than the middle looking from the side of the glass. Head slowly dissipates, leaving some nice brown lacing with a 1/4" of filmy head.
Tobacco, marshmellow, zippy hoppy and some fumes. Very decadent.

Oily up front, very viscous. Really soft on the lips, velvety. Bitter...chocolate & hoppy. Throw in some cold brewed coffee too. Plum, raisin, fig and strawberry...yowzers. Strong bitter chocolate oil. Astringent tobacco bitterness, somehow a little tart on the finish. Long lasting bitter, dry & tannic. Mouth feels like I just smoked a mild cigar. (730 characters)

Photo of mdvatab
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received 2011 bottle in a trade, and opened w/ barfwin & cosmonick at our Black Friday tasting.
Poured from 750ml bottle into red wine glass.

Aroma: Molasses, blueberry, cocoa powder, and a very faint sashimi soy sauce note. All aromas appropriate, and working well together.

Appearance: Pitch black body! Thin layer of foam is dark brown, and disappears quickly. As the thick syrup washes over the inside of the glass, it clings on, and leaves an amber hue.

Flavor: Rich chocolate brownie, a nice smokiness, a hint of cherry, and some dark chocolate bitterness. Very nice balance is struck between chocolaty sweetness and bitterness, with a final nod toward the bitter side.

Mouthfeel: Full body with velvety medium-high carbonation.

Overall: Definitely one of the finer imperial stouts that I've had. Someone at our tasting commented that Zhukov's is the base beer for Hunahpu's. I can definitely see a resemblance, minus the pepper of course. I'll be trying to get this again the next chance I have! (1,008 characters)

Photo of titosupertramp
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to pittsky for the opportunity to try this.

A: Marshal Zhukov pours out of the bottle like oil that's a couple of thousand miles past due. Very dark and well carbonated..glad it's not from the flat batch. Chocolate colored head. Not a lot of lacing.

S: Big nose. Chocolate, molasses, licorice, roasted malt, raisins. Just what you want an RIS to smell like. Very inviting.

T: Everything from the nose is there. Molasses and chocolate are the most dominate flavors to me. Nice complex taste.

M: Thick, rich and coats the mouth, leaving a nice chocolate aftertaste.

D: Alcohol never shows itself at any point..not in the nose or taste. Drinks very well.

From this point forward, when someone asks what is my favorite RIS, this will be part of the conversation. (777 characters)

Photo of trappistlover
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(750ml bottle courtesy of markwise and shared at Mike's sours/saisons tasting). Pours black with chocolate head. No carbonation and oil-like. Aroma of chocolate and soy. Taste is sweet with some roasty bitterness. Medium bodied with slick texture. Finish is smooth and roasty. This is a really good RIS. Thanks Mark! (316 characters)

Photo of kiddynamite920
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

August 2009 750 ml bottle. Heeded the bottles advice to not open until January or February. Gave a bit more time even.

A: Well if that isn't the darkest head I've ever seen. The beer itself is black as night of course. Head is actually retaining a bit here. Sort of angled up against the edge of the glass with the middle dissipating. Can't get over how dark the head is itself.

S: When the bottle cracked open I immediately was hit with a tobacco, earthy herb type aroma. Almost smelled like a cigar laced with a bouquet garni. The beer in the glass smells very, very roasty. Has a burnt toast aroma with a good heap of charred wood as well. Some vanilla and bourbon are there as well. Alcohol seems to hide behind the burnt aroma. Just seems as if the malts have hit the limit on their toasting. There is a slight floral hop smell as well, but in the forefront are the malts for sure.

T: Burnt wood on the palate as well, makes me wonder what is lending this flavor to the beer. Tastes oak aged, although it's not. Has a bitter chocolate flavor that accentuates the burnt flavor. Hops begin to lend a helping hand with the bitterness of this beer. Very earthy, herbaceous hop flavor. I almost expect more sweetness, but this is a nice flavor profile. There are notes of whiskey, vanilla, wood, herbs, tobacco and some nearly burnt molasses. Black strap I believe it's called.

M: Feels very heavy sitting on the tongue, nice and syrupy. Carbonation is also more present than most RIS's. Just a very different experience and take on a RIS.

D: Tough to take larger sips of this beer. Some of the flavor can be overwhelming if taken in high doses. Just a bit too burnt and bitter for a RIS in my eyes. (1,707 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a brand snifter glass. Pours a deep dark mocha chocolate brown almost black with a thin layer of tan head that dissolved quickly leaving a trace of oily residue. You can smell the toffee and molasses in the nose. Going to be sweet. First sip is toffee, chcolate, molasses with a touch of high end espresso coffee. Sweet but overly sweet. To be honest, tastes a heck of a lot like The Answer Good Night Mekong. Maybe a little thicker but still not Surly Darkness thick. Similar to Hardywood Trickery or Brothers Resolute. Coffee is buried on the backend. No abv burn detected halfway through the glass. Cherries coming through now. Just slides down like a raw saghaw molasses. I could probably drop a biscuit on this. Super good stout. (764 characters)

Photo of nootch23
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter.

A - pours a thick, midnight black with a half finger of chocolate colored head. Can't see anything through the glass.

S - great smelling beer, smells really big. Smells of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee underlying the big boozy smell that is right up front.

T - really complex tasting beer. Really big notes of chocolate, molasses, licorice, coffee, and a lot of fruit flavors like cherries and prunes, if you can believe that. The alcohol is definitely there and has that alcohol burn with each drink. Despite the alcohol in each taste, it's an easy beer to drink, really smooth going down.

M - thick presence lingers with lingering tastes of chocolate, fruits and coffee. very smooth finish.

O - this is a great beer yet a pretty big one that will probably be unbelievable given 2-3 years in the cellar. I love complex tasting beers and each flavor plays beautifully off the other. The booziness is present but is balanced out pretty well so its not overwhelming or overpowering the rest of the beer. I'm really glad I had this and thank akuyper for sending it along in our trade. This is a beer that is definitely worth seeking out and trying and/or cellaring. Am very interested to see how this beer tastes after aging for a few years. I can see why it's so highly regarded. (1,320 characters)

Photo of stxSS07
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml into a tulip. Courtesy of moose3285...thanks Mike!

A- Pours an oil slick black. Chugs out of the bottle. This is the darkest beer I've ever seen. Head is a dark mocha brown...leaves a huge brown film/legs when swirled.

S- Huge. First smell is of dark cacao powder, figs, and raisins. Scents of molasses, roasted malt/coffee. Alcohol is present, but not in a stinging way..I feel like it lends a hand to the sweetness. I pick up some licorice and vanilla on the back end as well. Very complex and I'm sure there are more notes that I just can't pick out individually.

T- First taste is of sweet dark fruits - figs and cherries mostly. Mid-palate I get more dark fruity notes...mostly raisins but coupled with a touch of bittering hops. Huge coffee/espresso finish...lasts forever. Somewhere in there I get the smell/flavor of a fresh pouch of Beechnut. Easily the most complex non-BA RIS I've had.

M- Thick and chewy with adequate carbonation. One of bigger stouts I've had as far as feel goes.

O- As previously stated, this is the best non-BA RIS I've had. The flavor is so incredibly complex and powerful that I almost doubt there were no additives (i.e. coffee) to this. I will definitely be seeking this out again. (1,229 characters)

Photo of rodkin
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pitch black, with a really dark brown head. Quite large head for 11%, with decent lacing. Looks very thick.

Milk chocolate, coffee, roast, bit of dark chocolate, some dark fruit, hint of vanilla.

Taste is similar. Milk chocolate, roasted bitterness, dark fruit sweetness, vanilla, dark chocolate. Really sweet, like a melted chocolate bar.

Mouthfeel is really smooth, creamy, nice carbonation.

A very fine stout. The alcohol is entirely hidden, which is scary. Maybe slightly sweeter than I'd like, but overall very good. Now if only it had some cinnamon, chili, vanilla, and cocoa mixed in... (598 characters)

Photo of infi
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

#100!

Shared with BAs brun, NYManc and r0nyn. From 10/6 notes.

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Immediately as I was pouring the stout out of the bottle, I could tell of its incredible viscosity and thickness, just by how heavy it felt. Lo and behold, this brew was looking like molasses and syrup in the glass. Immensely dark and black with no head, but rather some floating tan bubbly islands and no lacing. The legs of the alcohol were quite noticeable too. Aroma was very sweet, especially when let warm. The milk and dark chocolate notes opened up vigorously and made way for a caramel appearance. Reminded me of a toned down version of ST's Creme Brulee. Also, more espresso than coffee on the nose alongside some boozy heat.

Flavors were more coffee and espresso oriented, but segued into a beautiful malt backbone with milk chocolate sweetness. Each flavor component was represented very well on the palate. This finish was incredibly notable too: very chocolately and sweet, like some Ghiradelli. Very, very appetizing.

Mouthfeel was VERY smooth and creamy. Very thick and generously coating. It's got to be the thickest beer I've ever encountered so far and I loved it. Much respect to the Marshal. (1,207 characters)

Photo of tjkinate
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was very impressed with this one.

A: Large, extremely dark colored head, almost ashy. Head displayed fantastic retention eventually settling leaving ample thick lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, semi-sweet scents, vanilla notes, some dark fruit hints, and molasses.

T: Dark chocolate, hints of cherry, bits of toffee. The fruit undertones persist and add a pleasurable complexity to the overall experience. Espresso flavors show up just in time for the beers finale.

M: Thick, well carbonated, creamy.

O: I found this beer to be very good, just shy of another Cigar City stout, Hunahpu's. (587 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

These notes are based on an immature sample batch before it was aged on roasted cedar and bottle conditioned to near perfection. But at this stage it wasn't perfect. I'll append these notes when a sample of the properly conditioned release is available. It pours murky dark brown and is on the lower end of the carbonation scale (if such a thing exists). The aroma has roasty notes and just a hint of chocolate. It really lacks some depth. The taste is much the same with semi sweet medium to highly roasted malts, faint caramel and just a touch of chocolate. There appears to be little depth or complexity in the flavor as was the case in the aroma and shows the need for proper aging and conditioning. It was tasty like this but just barely more than one dimensional. (769 characters)

Photo of r0nyn
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter. Courtesy of fellow BA infi. Split with him and BA NYManc.

Pours a ridiculous jet back that's completely opaque. Looks like motor oil coming out of the bottle. No head whatsoever, though. A few swirls gives it some sticky lacing coating the side of the glass. Smell is...whoa. Super sweet caramel malts override the senses, along with dark chocolate, coffee and espresso. A bit of warming gives it a little bit of alcohol at the end. Massively impressive.

Taste starts off with some malty sweetness that quickly gives way to all the flavors from the nose. Tons of dark chocolate, espresso and coffee. Just...wow. Everything has a pleasing roasted quality as well, giving depth to the flavor profile. The sweetness is the most pleasant part of the brew, at least for me. That caramel sugary flavor just complements the other nuances so well. The mild bitterness and sweetness lingers long into the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth, smooth smooth like velvet. Rich and creamy with excellent body and balance. I am quite impressed.

Drinkability is suitably high, thanks to the absolutely delicious taste and superb mouthfeel. The ABV is hidden very well, making this a very dangerous brew. Definitely one of my new favorite Russian Imperial Stouts. I just wish it was more readily available around here. Thanks to infi for sharing this great brew with me. (1,405 characters)

Photo of boatshoes
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Won this in my first LIF win from Scray24. Thanks again!

Appearance- Poured an opaque motor oil black with a massive, rocky three fingers of brown head. Amazing head for a RIS and it has surprisingly good retention as well. Very nice looking.

Smell- Lots of bitter chocolate, burnt roast, and coffee. Additionally, some notes of dark fruit as well. A many-layered and complex nose but definitely dominated by roast of many varieties.

Taste- Rich bitter chocolate is most prominent. An excellent combination of roast and bitterness, both sweet and bitter. Dark fruits show up again as well, almost reminiscent of some flavors that usually show up in a dubbel or quad. Quite interesting and very well integrated.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is rich, slick, and chewy all at once. Perfectly carbonated as well. Drinkability is a bit low given the style and sweetness but very good for the style.

Overall, an excellent imperial stout. I was very impressed and to date have enjoyed all Cigar City brews I have had.

Overall, (1,030 characters)

Photo of hopsbreath
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to zimmerbloke for hooking me up with a few of Cigar City's finest. Due to a thread citing carbonation issues with Zhukov's, I made this the first CCB beer from the package I opened.

A: Poured hard into my Portsmouth snifter, a reverse waterfall yields a milk chocolate brown cap on a text-book potting soil black body. Although no real head ever formed, the thin surface layer cap and foam ring promise some carbonation. It seems the reports of the Marshal's demise don't apply to this particular bottle. Swirling the beer inside my glass literally stains the glass a walnut brown showing the viscosity of the brew. 5/5

S: Uh-oh... Some lactic qualities suggest a possible infection although that is my first response to a brewer intentionally using a lacto-culture in a big stout these days. Call it the curse of The Abyss! The alcohol doesn't hide in the nose but instead, shows up as a port like quality. 3.5/5

T: Nope... No infection here! Fantastic bitter chocolate cake are all over this thing! This lends a nice touch of bittering hops and anise on the finish. Wow-oh-wow this is sweet though. Never does this try to be anything else than a rich decadent dessert masquerading as a beer. As long as that's expected, it is great! 4.5/5

M: Very low carbed. This is a beer that is so big and luscious, it doesn't really need much carbonation. Similar to Hunahpu's, this beer literally coats my tongue. Its sticky, sticky, sweet and nothing about it is clean. Again, as long as its expected its good. 4.5/5

D: This is one hell of a solid beer! I've already lined up a trade for another one and plan on enjoying that as well. Do yourself a favor and try it if you can because there aren't many like it. Good on you for this creation Cigar City. 4/5 (1,772 characters)

Photo of jjdc
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (324 characters)

Photo of haazer
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sat on this for about a year, perfect time open on this snowy night.

A- Holy sludge. Thick black high mileage motor oil. And this is the first black head I've seen. It towers in the glass and very slowly subsides, leaving lacing on the glass. The head does lighten to a brown cocoa powder color.

S- Burnt dark malty chocolate aroma fills the air at the pour. Such rich dark chocolate, good roast profile. Espresso, a bit of sugary molasses and underlying toffee. Booze is well masked.

T- Sweet chocolate syrupy flavor initially. The chocolate winds into a creamy espresso. There is toffee, and definitely thick molasses. The flavor rounds out with an earthy bitterness from the English hops. No alcohol detection at all. This is dessert in a bottle. It's as rich as a double chocolate devil cake if there is such a thing.

M- Full bodied and rich, thick brew. Molasses(re-occurring theme) viscosity, and mid to high carbonation.

O- This was sweet yet delicious. Decadent and rich. Would love to try any of the variations of this beer, especially Hunahpu. Probably the most chocolate profile you'll see in an RIS and I like it. Love CCB. (1,140 characters)

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at the Cigar City brewery on a trip to Tampa...

Poured from a bomber into a Cigar City pint glass...

A - Pours pitch black. No carbonation, no head, and no lace to be had here. Bummer...

S - Chocolate, caramel, molasses, and a hint of coffee...

T - Pretty much follows the smell. Chocolate, dark roasted malts, molasses, and coffee. Ends on a sweet caramel note. A little sweeter than I expected, but still really tasty, and abv is very well hidden...

M - Despite the lack of carbonation this one has a good mouthfeel. Thick and chewy like a good RIS should be...

D - Definitely something I am looking foward to trying again with a little carbonation. All in all, another solid brew from CC...

Cheers... (729 characters)

Photo of ricknelson
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City was something that I picked up at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, Ma based solely on the BA rating card place in front it on the store shelf. I trust the BA ratings and in this case they were right on. Tremendous stout to say the lease, and a total surprise that a beer this good could come from Florida. Have it again since my first taste and still rate it as one of best stouts that i have had. My buddy was in Florida recently and I told he had to go to Cigar City and have a Marshal Zhukov. He did, and he liked it so much he went again the next day to have it again. Great beer if you like stouts. Right up there with Goose Bourbon County, KBS and Old Rasputin. (712 characters)

Photo of Klym
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to paulydeets for this extra!! Glad to finally try this. Poured into a surly darkness snifter.

A: Wow.. it looked a little flat so I poured aggressively and the reddest, black-cheery massive frothy head took over the glass and after 5 minutes of sitting has only died down a tad. What a monster looking beer.

S: Not very aromatic.. Just a tad of basic roasted malt with some sweet roast and a little beef jerkey.

T: Hm. There's a great balance of big smoke that really gets smoothed over by a honeyroast sweetness with a little bit of savory salted meat. I feel like it's a better backdrop for a great beer than a great beer in itself though. It feels like something is missing.

M: The body is great. Medium thick with a syrupy feel, a smooth foamy head and the beer leaves a tasty stick residue on the lips and throughout the mouth.

O: This beer has me interested. I'd definitely love to try variations of it, as I think that this beer could be moved around to be mind blowing, but as it is something is missing. (1,033 characters)

Photo of capra12
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed at Capones with Stephy and Speedway Jim.

Appearance: jet black with no head

Smell: Sweet over roasted coffee.

Taste: Opens with dark roasted coffee as a sweet raisin emerges in the middle -end as simcoe /piney hops become more apparent in the middle as the brew warms leaving a piney and malty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and coarse at times with minimal carbonation

Drinkability: I would have this again but on another day. I recommend this to someone who wants a coffee open as malts and piney hops finish the brew. (548 characters)

Photo of ryanonline
3.83/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very very dark, pitch black with the darkest tan you can get without it just being brown in the head. huge lacing.

chocolate, espresso and a touch of resinous pine coming from the hops.

ooh, this one is thick and deep. lots of roast and char with some coffee and chocolate but a very bitter piney finish. a touch too sweet though.

the mouthfeel is amazingly creamy and full bodied yet it still retains a certain smoothness, for an 11% alcohol beer, it is masked very well.

wonderful beer, could use some aging though. (521 characters)

Photo of MartzMimic
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle the color and viscosity of motor oil, with a nice finger of mocha head. Smells of cocoa, dark fruit and warm spices. It tastes much as it smells. Chocolate, cinnamon, plum and cherry. Maybe a touch of coffee. The alcohol is hidden well, only providing a little warmth. Slightly bitter finish. Medium mouth that coats the tongue well. Just a really well-made stout. (386 characters)

Photo of BrownNut
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage, aged 16 months from 8/2012 bottling, sampled on NYE 2013 after having reviewed it in 9/2012 and 1/2013 below. Served cool in a snifter. Scores reflect 1/2013 tasting.

A - 4.5 - Thickest, most used-motor-oil pour I've seen. Possibly the darkest head I've seen - chocolate milk brown initially, which lightens.

S - 4.0 - Nice bitter chocolate. Some ash and fresh baked dark bread.

T - 4.5 - Still pretty stiff despite the year plus of aging. Substantial char. Edges even a bit into ashtray territory. Dark/bitter chocolate leaning towards baker's chocolate. Only in the sides of my mouth during and after swallowing is there a hint of sweet, a suggestion of fruit. That's when the char/ash takes over, while a bit of tart sweetness lingers on the lips and tongue tip. Over the course of the bottle, a grown-up chocolate syrup note comes more forward.

M - 5.0 - Viscous like pudding. Very thick, heavy, and smooth. So nice. Thicker than BCBS or tied for thickness.

O - 4.5 - This is a huge imperial stout and not for the faint of heart. Very well done. I think the main effect of aging it over a year has been make it creamier.

JANUARY 2013 REVIEW OF 2012 VINTAGE

2012 vintage, drunk Jan 2013, made without looking back at the previous one until after re-reviewing. Bottle to tulip, served starting at 55 degrees F.

When they released this in Sep 2012 they recommended letting it age for several months to fully come together.

A - 4.75 - Opaque black with a thick, enduring mocha-colored head. Serious lacing.

S - 4.0 - Somewhat reserved. Chocolate. Hint of coffee. Hint of wood. For a flash I got something boozy, for a couple of flashes I got something vinous.

T - 4.5 - Months of aging have taken some of the bitter edge off. It was difficult to get through a 750 of this when I had it fresh - not in a bad way, just in a big, bold, challenging way that made you take it slow. Now it has mellowed some. I'm still left with a bitter chocolate aftertaste, but not a strong one. It's not so full of char in the main body as before. It's more balanced, with the dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, cocoa, and chocolate syrup notes coming forward, although not overly sweetly. A touch vinous. The taste and mouthfeel still make you go slower than you would with another beer, which I love.

M - 5.0 - Superb. Thick, heavy body approaching pudding feel. Creamy, velvety, viscous from lips to throat.

O - 4.5 - A fine, fine imperial stout. This is a serious beer.

SEPTEMBER 2012 REVIEW OF 2012 VINTAGE

Here's my original review from Sep '12. The official scores for this review reflect this tasting.

2012 vintage, drunk late September 2012. Bottle to tulip, served cool.

A - 4.5 - Pours like motor oil, thick, viscous, and black, with one of the darkest heads I've seen. Like dense chocolate milk color. Gets a bit lighter as it sits. A thick, enduring head.

S - 4.5 - A comforting graham cracker malty aroma intersecting with a delicate roasty char. A few times, just for a flash, I got a whiff of hops.

T - 4.5 - Perfect balance. There's a maturity to this combination of flavors. Yes, there's chocolate, but it doesn't go too far in any one chocolate direction such as chocolate syrup or brownies or cocoa or semisweet or milk chocolate or baking chocolate like many do, but rather occupies the nexus of them all while tastefully restraining all of the chocolate and sweetness against the other elements such as some char, woodiness, and coffee. None step forward to be dominant. As it gets closer to room temp, the char becomes easier to parse out.

That same refined, mature, chocolatey, charry, dry quality persists in the exhale after swallowing.

There's some kind of fruit flavor left on the lips afterwards, like maybe cherry, which wasn't apparent in the main tasting. Think of a dark chocolate covered cherry and pull back on the candy cherry intensity and sweetness.

The winey combination of fruit and chocolate veers briefly into hop territory sometimes and then disappears. It overlaps so nicely with those other flavors. The aftertaste is the best kind of tease, threatening to cross the threshold into real bitterness but holds just shy. Threatens to be too chocolatey but holds just shy. Threatens to be too much char and holds just shy. It's so well balanced.

M - 5 - Medium-heavy bodied, viscous, and ultra smooth. Either a moderate dryness or the very beginning of hop abrasion does its mild work on the tongue. Leaves a nice warm burn at the back of the throat for a little while. Only HotD Fred has a better mouthfeel due to pure sexiness.

O - 4.5 - Here's a hyped beer that delivers. One of the best. Everything comes together so nicely. This is grown up stout, yet still so rich. I tend to fly through beers more quickly than I'd like, but this one insists on being savored. (4,836 characters)

Photo of OneEye78
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps the most opaque, motor oil pour I have ever seen. This tastes like liquid fudge. Flavor is a blend of bitter dark chocolate and espresso. Mouthfeel is motor oil thick, which was foreshadowed by the pour. A really good RIS. (231 characters)

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