Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing

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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

503 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 503
Hads: 2,398
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 1,166
Gots: 782 | 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: 503 | Hads: 2,398
Photo of morimech
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, dense black color in a very viscous fluid. Just a thin head forms and quickly settles. Moderate amount of spotty lcaing is left on the glass.

Roasted malt aroma with hints of bitter chocolate, black licorice, coffee, and some clean alcohol.

Taste wise this is one of the best RIS's I have had. Not too sweet (Dark Lord) and not to bitter (Darkness, Storm King), but just a ton of black roasted malt goodness. Notes of bitter chocolate, French roast coffee, licorice, dark molassas, and just a hint of smokiness. The alcohol is evident and helps cleanse the palate.

Lacks suitable carbonation. Just a little bit more carbonation to help the smells and tastes pop, this would be one of the world's great beers. Very thick and heavy body.

Just one minor trouble spot in the design of this otherwise exceptional beer. (824 characters)

Photo of youradhere
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours muddy black with dark tan/brown head. Thick lacing is left behind and forms a moving crust to the glass. Smell is cocoa, chocolate, sweet malt, berries, and what I can only describe as licorice-like. Taste is chocolate, bitter coffee, roast malt, truffle. Carbonation is medium, mouthfeel is creamy without being thick, if that is possible- almost a too thin of a body here, sort of light and airy. No alcohol presence, and drinks smooth. There is some flavor that keeps popping up here, that I can't quite put my finger on, and it is driving me nuts. Very good beer overall, and I would seek this one out to try again some day. (634 characters)

Photo of beachbum1975
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to urbancaver for sharing this beer! This is one of the 4 x Zhukov's poured last night.

Pours black with clear, amber edges. No real head on my pour and no lacing. Thick and viscous pour.

Heavily roasted malts with black licorice. Heavy char.

Very little carbonation on the mouthfeel, as well. Lots of heavy char and licorice.

Big and tasty. (358 characters)

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

Appearance: Poured form 25.4oz bottle into large snifter. Extremely dark, purely opaque. Looks thick, syrupy, and oily. Extremely thin head forms for just a moment post-pour.

Smell: Sweet toffee, coffee, and chocolate - exactly how the bottle describes it.

Taste: Not as intense as I had expected, very mild actually. Sweet chocolate and espresso. Roasted malts as well.

Mouthfeel: Very balanced, creamy, and silky. Almost no bite whatsoever. Lots of sticky, sweet residue around and in the mouth & lips.

Drinkability: By far, the most drinkable Russian Imperial Stout I've ever had. It is a very sweet brew, which is not particularly my favourite. It looks and feels excellent, though. (690 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 vince4953529
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750 cc. purchased from an online store; slightly chilled bottle, poured into my Stone IRS glass.

Color is black, extremely black actually, I could imagine this was going to be a very dignified and authoritative imperial stout.

This a thick, syrupy, and creamy stout. The initial wave of taste felt very sweet, actually too sweet. I struggled a bit with the intense molasses sweetness.

I love myself a big raging imperial stout, but this is way too sweet, but I love the thick mouthfeel though.

A bit of a chore for me to finish the whole bottle, took me about two hours actually. (586 characters)

Photo of Gosox8787
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 mL bottle served at room temperature. Poured into one of my Portsmouth Brewery tulip glasses.

Appearance: Midnight black color with an almost equally dark, one finger head with unimpressive retention. Near the end of my glass, I noticed there was a touch of thick dark sludge at the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: Baker's fudge and espresso notes really are dominant. Some earthy, leathery notes blend nicely in the background. A touch of herbal pine notes as well.

Taste: Big dark chocolate and fudge notes hit first. Nice balance of bitter and sweet notes. The earthy and rustic tones really become noticable in the middle. A touch of leather and wood are definitely there. Finish is bitter espresso. really nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Definitely this beer's biggest weakness in my opinion. Medium to full bodied, but with little to no carbonation. Leaves a nice thick coating, but the lack of carbonation is noticable and is a detriment.

Drinkability: I finished the bottle by myself, but this is definitely one that would have benefited from splitting. The ABV does not overwhelm though.

Overall, a really nice, balanced impressive stout. I loved the blend of flavors and the balance. The one negative was the lack of carbonation and it did not hurt it as much as I thought it would. I will definitely seek this out again. This batch was definitely near its peak in terms of age in my opinion. (1,415 characters)

Photo of Florida9
3.62/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick, viscous, and flat. No head. No lacing. The liquid itself is a glossy black.

S: Sweet raisin and roasted malts.

T: A sweet and rich blend of chocolate, raisins, molasses, and dark malts. A bit acidic.

M: Thick, flat, and syrupy, yet still manages to finish with an odd thinness.

D: The lack of carbonation greatly distracted from this beer and I simply could not enjoy it. I would hesitate to even call it a sipper as it offered little to invite you back for another sip. (487 characters)

Photo of mistakebythelake
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle drank at Big Bad Stout Tasting out of a snifter.

Pours a Jet black with hints of red around the edges of beer. No head whatsoever remind me of coffee with no bubbles. Smeels of slight tobacco and roasted malts nothing else really going on. I did like the slitty smoky taste and roosted malts with a bit of a coffee finish. I did like the fact Zuhkov was very thick, rich and creamy. Definitely a sipper for me. I preferred this RIS then his offspring Hunaphu's. (474 characters)

Photo of Vdubb86
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Darkness Snifter

This beer poured pretty darn flat, which I must say is not impressive off of the bat from a beer that I've been so excited to try. The aromatics I got were coffee, smoke and bourbon. The flavors were vastly improved on the aromatic, to which I blame the lack of head. It was a sweet tasting beer with chocolate, grape, smoke and caramel all combined into a very tasty melange. The mouthfeel probably was helped by the lack of head, because this beer went down very smooth and very creamy. The drinkability of this beer was good, I would hope that not all the bottles were with as little carbonation as was this one. (645 characters)

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

From notes, 2-26-2011

A - dark black body with some purple light through the edges. No foam of any sort.

S - woody dry chocolate, bitter earthy notes.

T - smoky, dry, bittersweet dark chocolate.

M - robust and smooth, little to no carbonation

D - not bad. Tastes good, isn't too overpowering. (297 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 brew3crew
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Part of the most epic stout tasting ever. This one from beer and bourbon

A-dark black with no head what so ever. Not even a little
S-some roast malts but not much else, and this is even very slight
T-very subtle tastes but mellow and delicious. Roast and a slight coffee aftertaste.
M- thick on the palate. Very smooth
D-crazy drinkable. Wow. (343 characters)

Photo of Urbancaver
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black. No head what so ever. One bubble actually. Vry thick. Smells malty and sweet. Tastes fairly nondescript. Just a ton of malty sweetness. Some light fruitiness on the tongue. Lots of earthiness own the tongue a bit of roast. Very basic but solid. Thick mouthfeel but not very well carbonated. (309 characters)

Photo of Beejay
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to DmanGTR for this brew!

A: It pours like solid black glass, no light can escape this. I am pretty sure the amount of light in the room when down when I poured it since it is absorbing so much of it. It pours thick, and when swirled in the glass it leaves the glass a dark molasses brown. There is no head at all on this, but just a swirl of dark color that collects in a ring on the edges of the glass. Man does it look nice.

S: Very rich and sweet. Notes of burnt caramel and brown sugar, black licorice, dark chocolate, molasses, and coffee cake. Perhaps a bit of dark chocolate or coffee in the finish, but the sweetness is really powerful.

T: Sweet chocolate comes out first, followed by licorice, and a nice roasted flavor. The sweetness and the dry roastiness form a bit of a ying and yang balance. And while the flavor isn't as complex as the aroma, it still tastes nice. Malty, roasty, with a touch of coffee in the finish.

M: Thick mouthfeel, like drinking creamy smooth oil. The carbonation is very low, and helps create that silky feel.

D: Tasty as hell, this is something that could be enjoyed with some nice aged cheese, or maybe a cigar. This is a sipping beer that will for sure sneak up on you. Wonderful. (1,244 characters)

Photo of gwguest
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml brown bottle with no visible batch or freshness dating into a Bruery tulip.

A vigerous pour yields a very scant milk chocolate brown foam on top of an opaque black body. Foam is gone in a flash. A quick swirl causes a thin motor oil-like stain on the side of the glass. I've never seen a beer leave quite such a residue behind. Interesting. It's not particularly appetizing, but interesting.

The aroma is a very harmonious blend of anise / licorice, molasses, dark dark chocolate and minimal roast. The are hints of a brown sugar sweetness in the nose which really perks up the beer and adds some fantastic complexity.

Flavors in the beer are quite intense and mirror the nose in many ways. There is a touch more coffee and toffee taste than I get in the aroma, but I think the toffee taste is what may be suggesting brown sugar in the aroma. The roast level is a smidgen higher, but not nearly as baking as other beers in this style.

The mouth feel is identical to what I imagine the glass would feel. Thick, coating with just a thin suggestion of carbonation. This is borderline flat, but I would venture to say that this is how the brewer intended. It has carbonation, but it is simply on the low end for the style. Personally, I would prefer a bit more of the scrubbing action, but no points off for where it is.

Drinkability, for an 11.5% beer, is a tick above. The slick mouth feel and intensity of flavors make it difficult to have very much, but the abv is undetectable. It's not cloyingly sweet and doesn't sit in the stomach like a rock. Nicely done.

Overall, Zhukov is a beer like no other that I have tried. It is far from my favorite, but it is definitely worth a try. I can see this being some BAs absolute favorite beer ever. It is very well-crafted, but it won't score a ton of points with everyone. Nice work from Cigar City. (1,868 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.87/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to readbaron for sending this bottle my way! Split and shared with ClarkPinnock [First installment of "A Beer Observed."]. Poured my allotment into a chalice.

The pour on this beer is one of the thickest I have ever seen. This slowly glugs out of the bottle. I can tell there is lower carbonation as there is no head to this at all. I didn't see a wisp of lace until the final few ounces from the bottle. Still, this is one evil-looking brew, and I dig it. The nose is potent with sharp twangs of vinous grapes, molasses, espresso, booze, chocolate. A plethora of aromatic tones.

The body, though low in carbonation, is still pleasant. So smooth and creamy. This is really thick stuff! I'd like a bit more bubble play, but this is alright. If this beer were any less "big," I'd have more of a complaint. The flavor profile mirrors the nose quite. Lots of dark chocolate, wine, mild booziness, licorice, and heavily roasted coffee beans. I lowered the drink-ability on this one, as the alcohol burn just gets to me after awhile, and this is more pronounced as this beer warms. Still, this was one heck of a weekend-starter. Great beer to sip by the fire, or as CP enjoyed it, with a pipe. (1,202 characters)

Photo of PaculiarBrews
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours thick and very black.
I am not going to comment very much on this one because alot of other people have already said my thoughts. I will say that it is the best Imperial Stout I have ever had. I was only able to find 1 bottle. If you have a chance to buy or trade for a bottle of this, I cannot recommend it enough. Your taste buds will thank you.

~Peculiar (364 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 Chico1985
3.46/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

**Updated notes - 11-2-12
Was fortunate enough to have cbutova provide another bottle of this, which was amply carbonated, improving the appearance and mouthfeel a good amount. A super thick dark brown head with red tints retained well and left good lace, crazy head on this one. Like stated in the original review, it's tasty but extremely sweet, thick and rich- fudge, dark cherries and molasses take over the palate. I imagine it drinking best as a ~5 oz. dessert beer, it can get overbearing quickly.

(original scores/review - 2/3.5/3.5/2.5/2)
Thanks to cbutova for sharing this 750ml. I wasn't positive at the time of tasting this, but I just confirmed that this is the base beer for Hunaphu's, which I enjoyed last year.

Opens with a small hiss, but the pour is not too promising carbonation-wise. Pours black as black with no head, just slight bubbles that quickly form a thin tan ring. Ugly sediment at the bottom. Stains the glass something evil.

First impression in the smell is a big spiciness, soy sauce and licorice. Very sweet, tons of molasses. Oddly, really no expected stoutness (roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, etc)

Big, thick, sweet chocolate fudge, molasses, licorice. Smoky a bit on the finish. Dark cherries also very noticeable which adds to the extreme sweetness. Not getting much coffee.

Barely carbonated. Super thick, oily. Sweetness is cloying from the get-go. Alcohol is very-well hidden but this beer still feels so huge. Smoky ashiness lingers on the palate.

The uber-low carbonation didn't help, but damn this was one huge, sweet, tolling beer. The flavors are decent but found this to be too sweet. I enjoyed Hunahpu's alot more, but now I really gotta try it again knowing this is the base beer... (1,738 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 AleWatcher
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this with my brother-in-law (godin64bit) while we watched Superbowl XLV...

Popping this open--- sounded uncarbonated... Pours an inky dark black, very little carbonation. Just a few little bubbles create a loose and lazy collar. Viscous and oily legs... Leading to sticky lace that looks like that of a root beer float. Some carbonation here would put this beaut over the top.

The smell has huge chocolate notes... Almost reminding me of chocolate covered raisins-- raisenettes, perhaps? Mmmm. This is quite tasty. Great roastiness. The flavor holds a hint of booze not found in the nose. The chocolate is so thick and full, it should be called "fudge."

The body needs some bubbles... It is very full and thick. The beer is insanely drinkable for the ABV. If the carbonation issues get worked put, this will be a top rung contender. (841 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

"I took a speed-reading course and read War And Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia."

--Woody Allen

Bottom of the Black Sea black with an incredibly thin slice of fudge milkshake colored suds. The almost nonexistent head is no surprise following an almost imperceptable escape of CO2 on crown cracking. Looks (and sounds) like carbonation might be an issue.

There's nothing wrong with the nose. On the contrary, each sniff delivers a blast of dark chocolate and licorice and most other roasted malt-related aromas as well. Firepower is definitely not an issue, so let's hope the same is true on the palate.

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout is a massively flavorful RIS that is a better mouthfeel away from greatness. The shortage of bubbles keeps the beer from expanding (opening up) on contact and allowing one to appreciate the finer nuances of the flavor profile. It's still damn good stuff... and what happens with warming comes close to putting the lie to the previous sentence.

There's so much black malt that it could almost be classified as an Imperial schwarzbier. Specifics include high cacao dark chocolate-covered coconut (think Mounds bar), black licorice, blackstrap molasses and a surprising amount of vanilla beaniness. Talk about taste bud saturation. The next highest taste score can no longer be denied.

Rarely has there been a beer of this ABV that is this easy to drink. The alcohol hasn't hit me yet, but with each mouthful becoming a large gulp, it's bound to soon. The mouthfeel is not full, but it's probably just a lack of inflation rather than a barley deficit. Oh, what could have been.

Cigar City is on the right track with Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout, an RIS that means serious business. If they can get the carbonation kinks worked out, this big black ale has a chance to be... wait for it... legendary beer. Thanks to ktrillionaire for the opportunity. (1,902 characters)

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

Pours an opaque black color, with a minimal brown head. Very thick and oily aspect to it. Not much lacing nor retention.

Aroma is of dark roasted malts, olives (?)/ herbal hops and wood.

Taste is sort of unusual with a malt/mollasses start and kind of a malt adstringency that resembles sourness. In the middle I can definitely taste some herbal/earthy hop charachter. It progresses with dark fruits, smoke malt and ends with lots of roast+hop bitterness with a lingering aftertaste.

Body is medium to heavy, smooth carbonation. Great silky mouthfeel.

Nice beer but it tastes a little too smoky to me. I realize it is just a personal preference but I like my imperial stouts leaning more towards vanilla/chocolate/coffee. Definitely worth a try though. (756 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle to pint glass on 1/29/11

A: Viscous motor oil. I've never seen a beer this thick. It literally coats and leaves a trail of engine wear on the interior of the glass. Little to no head and zero lacing.

S: Black cherries on the nose. You can certainly pick up the alcohol, but it is well integrated with the black fruits and slight hints of smoke.

T: Like Joey Lawrence once said: "Whoah!" Raspberry and black cherry jam fill the mouth upon contact. I detect 70% dark cocoa nibs on the mid-palate, and Kona coffee on the finish. It really coats the tonsils and lingers for some time.

M: Like drinking heavy whipping cream or liquid butter. Massive, epic; it is right up there with Ten Fidy as being one of the thickest stouts - or beers in general - that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

O: An absolutely brilliant brew. This is the first full sized serving I've had of a Cigar City beer, and it did not dissapoint. I do wonder why it was bottled in a 750ml, as it is a much bigger serving then any one human should have in a night. (1,050 characters)

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
94 out of 100 based on 503 ratings.