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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
95
world-class

512 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 512
Hads: 2,430
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 1,181
Gots: 815 | FT: 75
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: 512 | Hads: 2,430
Photo of ms11781
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to moz9. No date on the bottle but the label lists the ABV at 11% but the listing on the site has it at 11.5%. Perhaps that would differentiate which vintage this is.

Pours a very thick, solid black with zero head aside from a a few tiny bubbles on one side of the glass. The beer looks thick and viscous with no noticeable carbonation. There is no noticeable lacing as the beer is consumed but once the glass is empty an extremely thin, clear, brown film-like layer can be seen.

The aroma is quite strong. Dark and bitter chocolate dominate the nose, along with some almost earthy notes. There is a sweetness to it, maybe some milk chocolate and/or dark fruit. There is a hint of coffee as well as a strong aroma of alcohol. When the beers is a bit colder it smells bourbon-like, which was surprising, but as soon as it warms even the slightest amount that characteristic disappears.

The taste is very sweet. Not cloying, a tad sugary, but somewhat balanced on the back end. There are milk chocolate and slight toffee flavors that stand out and make the beer very sweet at first. There is also a hint of molasses and a bit of ripe, dark fruit, almost cherry-like. There is roasted malt character that takes over and finishes with a bitter,charred, burnt coffee flavor that sticks for a bit. As the beer warms the sweeter characteristic become more pronounced and the bitter ones fade a bit.

The mouthfeel is extremely thick. Syrupy and viscous. The carbonation is as close to non-existent as you can get. In fact, there may be none. There is some warming from some alcohol that may make it seem like there is a touch of carbonation but that may not be the case. When the beer is a bit colder the charred, burnt flavors dry it out considerably but that fades as it warms.

Overall, this was a solid and interesting example of the style. I actually enjoyed the whole 750ml bottle myself over the course of an almost 5 hour period so I had the beer at various temps and as it warmed it brought out new flavors and/or highlighted some of the existing ones. I definitely wish I had another bottle as I'd like to lay one of these down and revisit it down the road. (2,171 characters)

Photo of Zraly
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sent to me by my soon-to be boss (how lucky am I?) -- Opaque black with a very faint espresso crema head. Smells of rich chocolate, earth and tobacco. Fabulous legs. Swirl this one and see this stout cling to your glass for dear life. Cigar City is chasing down the wine snob in me with this one!

Sticky sweet and perhaps the most intense, hardcore chocolate note I've come across yet in an imperial stout. The creamy smooth finish is divine. Notes of bittersweet chocolate, molasses, and cocoa. Extremely tasty.

Incredible. A monster. And would make a lovely dessert beer paired with your best dark chocolate and dried cherries.

One of the best. (650 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours black with no head. Thin coffee ring appears as the beer settles. Coats the glass like CRAZY. Did I get duped with 10w30?? Aside from it looking still, it's perfect.

Smell -- Black coffee, cherry bon-bon, bourbon, vanilla, molasses. Beautiful.

Taste -- So much going on: Chocolate cake, vanilla, and black cherry are most noticeable upon the sip, followed by espresso bean and black malt roastiness. Definitely sweet, but with enough black malt acrid bitterness and a modicum of minty hops to keep it from seeming cloying and one-dimensional. There is an incredible amount of bourbon and vanillin flavor for something that is not even partially barrel-aged - it's not, right? Lingering flavors are of chocolate-covered cherries and cafe macchiato.

Mouthfeel -- Thick, chewy, coating.about as close to still as you can get. Carbonation flies past creamy headlong into Angel's Share territory. Having had a few Zhukov/Hunahpu variations up to this point, it seems to be this beer's hallmark. Intentional? Regardless, halfway through my glass it felt like chocolate syrup.

Overall -- This was a delicious beer. The roast/sweet interplay reminded me of a rich desert paired with coffee. Decadent, lots of depth, but man, that mouthfeel is difficult to get over, though looking over a lot of the other reviews. However, after browsing through some of the reviews perhaps I'm the only one? By the last 3-4 oz of my pour it became a labor to get through it was so syrupy. Regardless, good stuff. Consider sharing this with 3-4 friends. (1,552 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
3.06/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a wine glass from a 750 ml. bottle. The pour is rich and black yet offers not even a hint of carbonation. Looks like a glass of cabernet to me. Not even a hiss upon opening should have been a sign, yet pouring half off into a 330 ml. bottle for recapping did show a hint of carbonation and the nose shows no sign of oxygen issues fortunately.

Nose of dark chocolate, some coffee and brown sugar and a hint of wafting alcohol.

Flavor is sweet and viscous, suffering to a degree from the lack of carbonation. Sweetened dark chocolate, bit of cocoa powder and roasted coffee on the finish. Feel is decent for being so flat but seems as though it would be rather light if well carbonated.

Rather slick and improves a bit in flavor with warming. Still the carbonation issue, surely not unique to my bottle, beats this beer down significantly. (852 characters)

Photo of headbucket
3.15/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Summer 2010 release.

A: Very dark black, very hard pour creates a minimal dark brown head that lasts for a very short time. No lacing left around the glass and barely any bubbles around the rim of the glass after the initial head dies.

S: sweet. dark,sugary smell, a bit of dark chocolate and bitterness that either goes along with the dark chocolate or is a coffee like scent, a little bit of dark fruit in there too, and a bit of alcohol smell as well.

T: Overpoweringly sweet. The sweetness is too much for me to be able to enjoy any of the other flavors that may be present in the beer. Mostly very dark sweet chocolate, some raisins or dark fruit mixed in, molasses, and just a touch of bitterness. Slight bitterness akin to dark chocolate and coffee on the aftertaste. I think i enjoy the aftertaste of the beer much more than the initial flavor.

M: Thick and syrupy. Not really any carbonation present. Neither of which is automatically a bad thing, but the sweetness of the taste combined with the syrupy consistency of the beer isn't too appealing.

O: A bit of a disappointment for me, overly sweet and this sweetness is too prominent in the flavor profile for me. I had been looking forward to trying this beer for a long time. This is from the batch that I had heard there were carbonation issues with some of the bottles, and it seems like this could be a bottle affected by it(although never having had this beer before I cannot be sure). I don't know if I drank this a few months earlier if the sweetness wouldn't have been as intense, of if the carbonation may have been slightly higher, but I wish I would have tried it earlier. Not a terrible beer, but I wish I had about 6 ounces of it and not the 2/3rds of a bottle that I do. Would like to try again sometime to see if the over sweetness that I am getting out of this beer and lack of carbonation are a fluke, or if that is just how this beer is. That being said, it really doesn't taste like 11% and I am soldiering on and putting it down a little quicker than most other beers of this strength, maybe just because I want to move on to something else. (2,128 characters)

Photo of Kelly88
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 into my Bruery Tulip.

A- ominous black with a spartan head that barely appears as bubbles on top of the bitous brew.Ruby highlights the very outer rims and minimal lace remains.

S- bitter chocolate stings the nostrils. Coffee is competing with sweet fruit at the end. Strong and pungent, really nice

T- very rich and sweet, Like rum or bourbon is covering angel food cake. Coffee is taking over the finish and really adds wonderful balance to this brew. Decadent and subtle at once, truly a great beer.

M- full and creamy. Nice flavor twang at the end to give the beer some substance. Really how I like my stouts, heavy and smooth.

Overall one of the most flavorful stouts I have ever had. Sweet flavors make for a delicious beer that delivers in lots of ways. The only gripe I have is the appearance. Definitely will be searching for more of this beer (876 characters)

Photo of cpmichael
3.57/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone RIS snifter. Bottle was about 1.5 years old.

A: Pours a super dark black. With about 1 inch of mocha foam.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and a sweet vanilla character.

T: Bitter/Baker's chocolate, on the malty side, and a hint of coffee, less than the nose suggested. Something seems a little off balance with this one.

M/D: Rich and carbonated. This is a pretty thick beer, it was very drinkable, but it seemed like something was missing in the taste. (487 characters)

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black as black can be with a thin tan head. Pretty standard for a RIS. Decent lacing, just above average in this dept.

S - Slightly better than average, so I'll call this good. Both dark and sweet chocolate. Funny, you don't usually get that combo. Vanilla and coffee. Again, standard for the style. Pretty nice surprise of sweetness in there though..

T - Pretty awesome taste. I wasn't expecting this much flavor. Roasted Malts are obvious right off the bat. The Sweet chocolate is present first, and then the bitterness from the dark chocolate is there too. Must be a few different roasts to make this complex of a flavor. Some woodiness in there too. Pleasantly surprised.

M - Thick and full. Lots of body, but maybe a hint too much carb for the style. Alcohol is hidden well, but not completely.

O - Glad I got a few of these when I did. Hope they become available again as I'll buy up a bunch more. Great stout that makes for a great time. (953 characters)

Photo of DNICE555
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter during the mandate tasting with Zapps and R Moe Nay.

Small head which comes alive a little bit with a very rough pour. Roasted malt, caramel, coffee and chocolate in the nose. Alcohol hits a bit more with the taste as well as the characteristics of the nose. Pretty smooth, a tad thin to be picky, and a little heat. Drinks very well and is another solid stout from Cigar City. (400 characters)

Photo of morimech
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
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 -6.6%
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 -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 -2.3%
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 -6.8%
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 -18.3%
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 -1.4%
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 -15%
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 -11.3%
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 -0.9%
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 -9.6%
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 -4.5%
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 -3.1%
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 -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 +9.2%
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 -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)

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 512 ratings.