Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing
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Ratings: 1,819 | Reviews: 469 | Display Reviews Only:
4.28/5 rDev -1.8%
Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
Many, many thanks to HeyOhhh for this beast.
When I think of Soviet Russia, darkness comes to mind. A sky so dismal they're begging to see the glorious sun of Highland Scotland, bitter winters, the eternal dread of the oprichniki: they all seem bright compared with the darkness currently sitting in my snifter. Motor oil, chocolate syrup, and pitch could be used as a comparative image, but they all fall short. This is Russian darkness at its finest. Even the finger-thick foamy head is dark, the second-darkest head I've yet seen (I can't really remember the darkest, but I know there was something darker than this one). Just as the Russian people could not escape the gloom of the Soviet bootheel, light cannot escape from this brew. I know I've gone a bit overboard in discussing the look here, but I was amazed by the bleakness oozing thickly from the bottle during the pour. Now, as distinctively Russian as the appearance is, I'm not sure how Russian the smell comes off as being. Heavy doses of chocolate and anise are joined by rabbit punches of black cherries, coffee, and tobacco. I'm sure you can come by these in Russia, but they're not recognized as Russian things. You know what I mean? Upon drinking, the good Marshal himself lets his troops loose: Whole divisions of bitter chocolate, brigades of tobacco and cran-black cherry, and skirmishing squads of leather, figs, burnt toast, molasses, and nutmeg. The victory is quick and one-sided, a Russian version of Austerlitz. The occupation then begins, and these troops make sure they bring every nook and cranny of the tongue under complete control. Despite this lingering and brutal occupation, a dearth of active carbonation, and a healthy, semi-perceived alcoholic content, the drinkability is dangerously high here. I just can't seem to get enough of that grinning soldier on the bottle and the brew that bears his name.
05-20-2010 12:48:14 | More by TMoney2591
3.73/5 rDev -14.4%
Bottle shared by either mfielden or nick3 at a recent Cigar City tasting - can't remember exactly who provided this one as there were a ton of Cigar City beers.
Pours completely pitch black, and it's even more black in the glass. A thick finger of dark brown head forms and retains very well. Cigar City know how to make an impressive-looking imperial stout, I'll give them that.
The aroma is tar-like, intensely roasty, ashy, burnt. Unsweetened chocolate and anise come to mind. Blackened, burnt. This borders on being horribly acrid, but it manages to remain somewhat pleasant; it really is right on that fine line though.
The taste is, unsurprisingly, massively roasty and charred, with quite a bit of tartness and acidity from the enormous amount of dark malt. Cherries, burnt bread, tar, charcoal. This is intense, but it's surprisingly tasty. While it's not something I'd care to drink often or in quantities larger than 3 ounces, it's a pretty decent little beer. Condolences to Overlord for drinking an entire bottle solo.
12-02-2009 01:37:12 | More by largadeer
3.48/5 rDev -20.2%
A - No head and an oily, utterly black body.
S - Mocha, coffee aroma. Some subtle smoke and caramel with a hint of boozy alcohol.
T - Spicy, medicinal and alcoholic. Very strong roasted grain flavor with a little bit of chocolate as well as some licorice and rosemary.
M - Thick, heavy, oily body, low carbonation, and a sweet, coffee like finish.
D - Drinkability is practically nonexistent; this is a huge, thick mess of a beer. It is obviously complex, but the alcohol is so rough that it obscures the character of the beer. I would guess that this has the potential to turn into something great, but it seems like it will take at least a year or two of aging for this beer to come together.
09-18-2009 17:32:46 | More by nickfl
4.5/5 rDev +3.2%
750 ml capped bomber into a couple of tulip glasses. Thanks go to Jw347 for this in a recent trade.
Pours black as motor oil coming out of the bottle, topped off with a ½ finger of burnt and blackened looking dark mocha head. There actually isn't a whole lot to the retention or lacing on this, as this peters out pretty quickly, but the amount of sticky brown oils that it leaves down the sides of the glass has you anticipating the dark decadence to come. The aroma is sharp in the nose at first with roasted coffee character, before a gooey smelling mix of chocolate and caramel malts rise up underneath. Citric green hops add some fresh green balance to this. Lot of beefy power here to the nose but I'm not getting any heat, as this merely amps up the robustness of the flavors.
The taste is thick and tangy in the mouth with chocolate fudge and toffee character up front. This is enveloped by crunchy burnt notes of roast and coffee, while a solid tingle of green and earthy feeling hops runs through the middle of the profile. The backend is heavy with leftover sweetness and citrus flavor before leading into dry roasted and zippy espresso finish. The mouthfeel is full, thick, and VERY chewy in the mouth. That 11% ABV is just beautifully hidden here, as you can feel just how big it is as it sits on the palate but there is absolutely no heat signatures coming out of this at all. Beefy but not boozy. Fantastic feel!
While not the most complex RIS out there, this doesn't have to be, thanks to the robustness, power, and most importantly balance of all of those huge flavors that are involved here. It's no wonder that this makes a perfect base for all of the different varieties that they put out of this beer. Just a well crafted Russian Imperial Stout with the alcohol content being right where I like it.
11-17-2010 20:31:43 | More by Kegatron
4.53/5 rDev +3.9%
Was down in FL for the holidays and I agreed to pick one of these up for someone in MD. The only place I could find it for sale in Gainesville was a beer bar that sold beer to go. I purchased the rather expensive (for me) bottle of beer and proceeded to drink the rest of the night away. The owner of the bar (and a friend of mine) asked me what beer I had bought to go and when I told him (he had not heard of it, been a busy 6 months for him) he promptly bought another one for he and I to share.
Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass (Delirium tulip). Beer is viscous as it pours from the bottle into the glass, jet pitch as dark as can be black in color. Leaves a residue where the beer hits the side walls of the tulip. There isn't much head or carbonation (its 11% alcohol) but when you swirl the beer a big thick head of really dark brown bubbles (small combining into large) forms and falls away leaving a ton of lacing on the walls. The carbonation level cannot support the head. This beer looks amazing. I've never seen such a dark colored head.
The aroma is overwhelming and complex. The flavor of this beer had better not let me down, the aroma is beautiful. First off its strong. I stick my whole nose into the tulip and breath in. I can smell chocolate and sweet malt. The alcohol is there but its not solventy it adds to the experience and helps accent the roasted coffee flavors. The sweetness is the dominant flavor.
Time to drink finally. The beer was served a little too cold so I held the bowl of the glass in my hand for several minutes enjoying the aroma. Mouthfeel is good, big bodied despite the high ABV, lots of flavors that completely coat the mouth. The alcohol is not as obvious in the beer as it was in the aroma, the flavor is dominated by a strong sweetness (that the alcohol may be contributing to) in the front of a good full malt character and then an avalanche of roasted espresso and coffee in the back of the mouth. Beer continues to surprise by not having an aftertaste. The coffee flavor is present and lingers but there is not secondary flavors. This is a world class beer and one of the, if not the best, Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had. I'm sure the oak and cedar aged versions are even more complex and amazing.
12-28-2009 16:46:28 | More by drabmuh
4.4/5 rDev +0.9%
My first Cigar City beer. Can't wait to try it. Got this thanks to either msulinski or mikereaser who each got me a bottle. I got me a bottle to drink nows and one to ages fer the ages.
A: An aggressive pour into my SN 30th Ann. tulip/goblet/snifter glass yields a large 2+ finger black colored head that slowly fades and leaves its mark on the sides of the glass. The beer itself is so dark it makes "pitch black" look like yesterdays gray.
N: The word on the street, or in the glass is roast. Tons of it, that is. Lots of coffee with that, some black patent malt, crystal malts, sweetness, caramel, brown sugar, etc. Some earthy hops in the background as well. A slight creamy chocolate comes through lightly. A touch of booze. Reminds me a lot, and I mean A LOT! of Imperial Stout Trooper.
T: Wow. Pretty thick and kinda rich. It has that marshmellow and nuggat like taste that NightStalker had. Thick and chewy. Lots of malts, crystal, black patent, and tons of roast. Lots of roast and coffee. Some minerality with lots of scorched malts and some bitterness that comes with that. Some earthy spicy hops along for the ride. Some warming booze, slight alcohol sting and boozy taste. Semi sweet, and comes with some caramel. WIth that is a slight sweet candy bar, touch of bakers chocolate, creamy oatmeal, and nuggat.
M: Thick and creamy, semi smooth, chewy, and marshmellowy, with decent carbonation.
F: Finish is pretty dry and gets really bitter. There is a nice combination of dry charred earthy scorched malts that adds a bunch of bitterness and a little minerality, as well as chewy earthy hops. A nice hop finish really. A touch of lingering sticky sweetness, and lots of lingering roast and coffee. Lots of lingering malts as well. Some bitterness and minerality on the back of the tongue as well. It really coats the mouth and sticks around. A touch of warming booze, but being 11.5% it hides it really well. I like this one, but it's hard to drink an entire 750ml by myself. I would like some smaller sizes or have to share with a friend next time.
04-30-2010 02:25:56 | More by jlindros
4.4/5 rDev +0.9%
wow. an extremely impressive stout here, one of the best ive ever had. who needs a barrel when you've got Zhukov? luxurious pour, velvety dark chocolate color with a rising bubbly and thick mocha head. so so dark on the malt. its short of being burnt, but its chocolaty and a touch smoky in the nose, and more earthy and mineral heavy in the flavor. in certain high end espressos, the connoisseurs tell you to look for blueberry and other fruit notes. I get that here, amidst the coffee notes, some dark fruits as well, very nice, subtle complexity. chocolate too is robust, not sweet but bitter and raw. the darkness of this is lovely, so deep and rich, but im finding it a lot more drinkable than I should at 11% abv. my friends left right after we cracked a 750 of this, and im having no trouble at all doing the heavy lifting here. full bodied but not filling. im enjoying it more and more as it warms. this is a world class example of the style, and proof of the fact that we don't need to put every stout out there in a bourbon barrel to make it special. brilliant stuff from cigar city.
11-20-2013 18:01:25 | More by StonedTrippin
4.5/5 rDev +3.2%
Very excited to finally try this beer.
The beer pours a deep, inky black color with a large brown head. The aroma has a ton of milk chocolate in it as well as some roasted malt and a little bit of cream. The flavor is similar, with a hint of light smoke and some very dark fruit up front (mainly prunes, plums and raisins), I also get a lot of chocolate and some very heavily roasted malt. Thick, creamy mouthfeel and low carbonation. An excellent imperial stout, proving once again that when it comes to big, bold stouts, Cigar City is one of the best.
06-09-2012 03:21:58 | More by Mora2000
4.05/5 rDev -7.1%
Poured from a bottle into a goblet.
Appearance: Pours black as night with a brown head and awesome retention. Great looking beer.
Smell: Sweet and roasty with some dark fruit notes as well as some faint vanilla.
Taste: Quite sweet. Hints of dark chocolate and dark fruit along with the roast. Very smooth with a mildly hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel: Thick and a bit syrupy. The carbonation is mild and smooth and the finish is slick.
Overall: A bit sweet but very good. I thought everything blended together quite well. I would definitely have this one again.
09-12-2011 14:48:40 | More by oline73
4.28/5 rDev -1.8%
From 01/22/11 notes. Had at a local tasting thanks to Dreadnaught33; thanks Jonathan, another want of mine.
a - Pours a pure black color with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Little bit of lacing; a great looking stout.
s - Smells of chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, and cocoa.
t - Tastes of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, light vanilla, and light alcohol. A slight step down from the nose.
m - Medium body and low carbonation, nice creamy body.
d - I thought this one was a great RIS. Tried it right before a Hunahpu and it's pretty similiar and equally enjoyable. I thought the alcohol was a little more prominent in MZ and Hunahpu had that spice for the peppers and more vanilla, but can't go wrong with either. Would love to have again.
01-25-2011 03:57:09 | More by mdfb79
4.8/5 rDev +10.1%
Sampled this at the DC bottle share at the Smoke and Barrel on October 14, 2012.
Appearance is exactly what you expect in a big stout, dark with a little creamy head.
Smell not that intense, but very pleasant, a little smoke and a tiny tart fruit
Taste is similar to smell; no surprises. The alcohol is hidden well in this beer. Mouthfeel just so smooth.
The whole beer is just what I would call smooth deliciousness.
10-19-2012 19:38:20 | More by mendvicdog
4.35/5 rDev -0.2%
~750ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof.
Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: Pours a fucking gourgeous fucking head of perfect ideal cream, fantastic ideal thickness, and fantastic retentuion. Just about one of the best heads I've ever seen. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. The retention is just plain amazing for the ABV. Mocha cream head. Incredible.
Sm: Chocolate, coffee, dark malts, cream, roast, and marshmallow. Fantastic. An above average strength aroma.
T: Cream, chocolate, marshmallow, fantastic dark malts, subtle roast, caramel, and some milky notes. Balance is damn near impeccable. That's pretty fucking good. Incredibly well built. It don't get much better than this. Masterfully constructed. Incredibly well layered.
Mf: Amazingly soft and creamy. Smooth and wet. Delightful. Perfect carbonation. Perfect thickness.
Dr: Obscenely drinkable for the high ABV, which is very well hidden. This is amazingly good. I'd definitely seek this out again. A home run from Cigar City. Surpasses my expectations. Damned incredible.
12-24-2012 03:53:25 | More by kojevergas
3.93/5 rDev -9.9%
Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a a two finger frothy dark mocha/coffee colored head with good retention, slowly fading into a lasting cap. Splotches of spotty lacing are left behind.
Roasted chocolate malt aroma with hints of espresso/coffee bean, sweet milk and dark chocolate, licorice, molasses, honey as well as some subtle earthy hops. Not overly roasty with a good balance of sweet chocolate. The aroma is amazing and very complex.
Chewy viscous mouthfeel with a very prominent roasty character and tons of sweet silky chocolate maltiness. Lots of deep roasted cofee/espresso bean flavor up front and dry earthy hops with some pine character. This is countered by a silky dark and milky chocolate presence mid palate and a lot of rosted malt, molasses and burnt toast flavor. More roasty espresso and coffe bean presence in the finish. I thought that this beer would be a bit sweeter but it is very dry, bitter and roasty and the hop profile is much more dominant than I would have liked. This beer is a bit rough when fresh but I feel the flavor will improve greatly with age. ABV is very well masked. It's hard to believe it's 11%.
01-01-2010 07:09:59 | More by corby112
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
97 out of 100 based on 1,819 ratings.