Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing
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Ratings: 1,755 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
4.46/5 rDev +2.3%
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.
Serving type: bottle
01-01-2014 03:15:17 | More by BrownNut
District of Columbia
4.36/5 rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
A: Pours a thick, viscous black with a few-cm. head of cocoa-colored head. Very good retention, no lacing.
S: Rich cocoa, molasses, espresso, moderate roast, a little caramel in the background provides something different for an RIS, a whiff of cherry. All in all very well balanced.
T: Roasted malt and dark chocolate, slight tang, finishing with lots of espresso and cocoa on the palate which leave behind a film. An everlasting finish. Some alcohol noticeable.
M: Full bodied with light carbonation. A little heat is evident. Mouthcoating and leaves some residue on the lips.
O: Superb example of the style, definitely on the bigger end but very well executed. This tip-toes into the roasty RIS category without going full blown.
Serving type: bottle
12-29-2013 02:10:11 | More by pmarlowe
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
97 out of 100 based on 1,755 ratings.