Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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

513 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 513
Hads: 2,433
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 1,182
Gots: 819 | FT: 74
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 513 | Hads: 2,433
Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (2,268 characters)

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to gtreid for this one.

Poured into stone old guardian snifter.

Pours a small layer of dark mocha head. Fades to a thin layer quickly. Color is a vicious black.

Aroma: Big roasted malt beer. Cocoa caramel, and coffee. Some earthy hops. Dark dried fruit notes, mainly cherry. Some toffee in the background.

Taste: Lots of chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee. Then i get the dried cherries followed by toffee and earthy hops balancing it out. As the end there is some thick molasses.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and rich. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted and malty, a little dry.

Overall, this is a solid RIS with lots of nice flavors that mix together. This is a sipper for me and I am glad I am sharing this with a few other BAs. I definitely recommend this one for the season. (811 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very thick black, very oily looking and viscous. A small brown colored head forms upon pouring and reduces to a thin cap on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Tons of molasses, it really dominates the aroma. There is some chocolate mixed in, a little bit of coffee, and faint roast. Definitely know its got some alcohol in it as well.

T: The flavor is certainly still full of molasses, but to a lesser extent. The chocolate is more pronounced, with some licorice and faint dark stone fruit. The roast comes through on the finish nicely, not much alcohol presence.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slight warming as it goes down.

O: A big stout for sure. Really over powering in terms of thickness and sweetness, great if it is the only beer you plan on drinking. (779 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, vintage 2011. Split between myself and three other friends, poured into four tulip glasses. After having Hunahpu's I was hoping it didn't ruin Zhukov's for me.

A: Thick and sludgy looking black pour. Medium brown colored head with really outstanding retention and lacing. It's thick, dark and really a great looking beer. The signature Russian Imperial Stout look from CC I'm gathering.

S: Very bold and roasted notes coming off; coffee, chocolate, toasted malts and bitter toffee. A touch of molasses comes through towards the back end of the aroma. It's very nice and although it has a wide variety of miniscule notes in it, the roast profile seems to be leading this down a one-dimensional path.

T: My initial reaction was that this is sweet, and it is. Big chocolate roast, bitter coffee and molasses notes hit first. Coming in towards mid-palate is a touch of anise, with roasted malts in the finish. The sweetness though lasts the entire time and after a while this beer got to be too much for me. I love big RIS but this is missing a serious balance.

M: Creamy, fairly thick, full-bodied with some lower carbonation. There's nothing wrong here other than it finishes a bit more dry than I like, even with its sweet characteristics.

Perhaps I was jaded by the outstanding complexity in the Hunahpu's but this just didn't live up to my expectations. It was a nice sipper with the right elements, but it was a bit too sweet and unbalanced. Perhaps some time in the bottle will do this beer justice but as it stands now, I'm not the biggest fan. (1,568 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Maggie for gifting me with this. Shared over the weekend and poured into a couple snifters. At first glance, this brew looks still. As I was pouring into the glasses, there was no head formation...shit! It looks absolutely black, the black coloration of this brew rivals the darkest brew's I have seen. A swirl of the glass releases a few bubbles which huddle together at the surface with a very dark brown color. More swirls finally form just shy of a fingers worth of head. Faint spotty lace sticks to the glass. Legs of sticky solution seemingly stain the glass and slowly creep down to the water line.

The smell of this brew is surprisingly tangy, unlike any other big RIS I have smelled. Alcohol is present even at colder than ideal temperatures. There is a fruity and citrus hop inclusion which contrasts the dark roasty malt characteristics which smell of chocolate and coffee. As the brew warms, it picks up a light smoked character which deepens the nose with notes of charcoal throughout. The citrus twang this brew has I cannot get over, it is very unique.

The taste mimics the nose. The first thing I taste is this citrus-like tangy alcohol component. Totally unique but interesting and appealing all at the same time. As more sips are taken, fruity and citrus hops are noted along with very dark roasted malts which bring forth a flavor of bitter chocolate, coffee, charcoal, molasses-like dark sugars and faint hints of must. The aftertaste includes some cocoa powder character.

This is a very full bodied, thick brew that is only exaggerated in it's smooth viscous feel due to it's low level of carbonation. It is very complex and enjoyable. A kiss of alcohol warms you up in this brew and seemingly evaporates from the tongue. This is a very well made brew. The carbonation could be turned up a few notches but all in all this is a solid brew. It's no wonder I enjoy the one-offs of this beer so much, this is an awesome foundation to start with and start tweaking flavors. (2,006 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: black as night, with a sandy brown head and great lacing

S: deep, rich, dark roasted malt, chocolate, toffee

T: I love it when I'm really excited to try a beer and it totally measures up to the high expectations I had. Rich, big, robust, complex, delicious, with hints of chocolate. This is a big RIS, and done very well.

M: Aggressive without being hot, thick, great carbonation level, easy going down, especially for 11.5% abv. As the glass is emptied it looks like an oil slick took place where the beer used to be. Viscosity lives here.

D: I have another bottle in the cellar that I'm pretty excited about. Highly recommended. This is one of the best in the style. (675 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (555 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Rhettroactive. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter. It poured pitch black in color and very thick looking. It had a dark chocolate colored head clinging to the edges of the glass and scattered across the top of the beer. Great looking beer.

The aroma shows a lot of dark chocolate to it. I get some molasses and caramel sweetness out of it along with a little roasty bitterness. What I start to really notice though is a tart, somewhat fruity presence that has a bit of a raspberry like flavor to it. It gives it kind of a strange twist, but not enough to take away from all the other really good flavors.

The taste also shows a lot of dark, bitter-sweet chocolate to it throughout. The finish is where I get a stronger roasty, coffee like bitterness coming out. Again though I get a little bit of a fruity, tart, sweetness to it that just seems out of place.

The mouthfeel is thick and silky smooth with carbonation being moderate for the style. Overall it was a pretty good beer. I really liked the dark chocolate and roasty flavors but the fruity, sweet, tart, raspberry like flavors that I got just seemed out of place in it to me. Good beer but not great. (1,188 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap

Marshal is a black imperial stout oh yes he is. Black with a oil slickness, thick with no light able to peek through. A nice tight off white head with slimy lacing. Smells of deep roasted malt with chocolate and more malt. Tastes consist of the same with dark sweet chocolate and some coffee with some hops to go with it. Dark fruit with some alcohol but not intruding. Roasted malt with some underlining toffee. This is pretty well bodied and nicely carbed, not dead in the water. A nice slick feel with some bitterness in the end. Glad I got a chance to try this brew. (578 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel in DC for the bottle share. Personal review #1500, woah it's been that many already? Off we go, much thanks to InfinityonTrial for bringing it.

It is a bit dark downstairs to truly see but the most impressive thing is a super dark mocha chocolate head that is created. Settles slowly with a whispy top, some speckled like lacing gets stuck in some of the legs, on a classic opaque walnut black body.

Nose hits with what seems like very solid roast coffee, with a mild chocolate sense. Good solid roast body, light bitterness and not burning my nostrils. Pretty solid, not earth shattering, but feels and sense quite decent.

On first sip I feel in love instantly. Wonderful dark rich bitter chocolate, with a creamy ganache like sense in the palate. Roasting warming coffee on the aftertaste. A real fascinating play on the bitter as well, there's this wonderful lime juice on the tongue of hop astringency while finishing. All miraculously melds together even after multiple sips, a warming roast quality of piping coffee, but no boozy character either.

Great beer, truly memorable. (1,148 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL 2011 bottle.

Pours viscous and dark black with chocolate edges. Dark mocha head, fades to a collar, with some legs. Roast malt and coffee nose, minimal sweetness or chocolate, mildly hoppy. Flavor is sweeter than nose, with caramel, coffee, chocolate, toffee, and pine. Thicker side of medium body with low carbonation; coats the palate and lingers well through finish with minimal heat. Other than the nose, this is an impressive RIS. (443 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -6.1%

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 or 2010 bottle. Finally reviewing this beer. Of course, when I finally review it, it's a 4+ year old body.

Appearance - Inky black. No real head. A few bubbles around the edges. Stains the glass.

Smell - Fudgy. Molasses. Chocolate. Intense. Boozy.

Taste - Fudgy chocolate. Booze manifests itself faster. Some dark fruits. A little raisin and molasses. Slight oxidation, but it isn't bad.

Mouthfeel - Huge, heavy, sweet. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Pushing the limits of too sweet, but it's just under the limit of insanely large. Excellent. (593 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown, opaque color with a dark brown head. Aroma of roasted malt, whiskey like alcohol and wood. I'm the taste, dark roast coffee, dark fruits, dark chocolate and alcohol. Palate coating dark chocolates with some intense citrus hops in a die hard fashion. Coffee, smoke, charcoal and earthy at that. Faint vanilla like hint. Warming booze. Full bodied feel, smooth, with an even carbonation. Overall this is a great big stout. (440 characters)

Photo of Lare453
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

32oz growler into a dfh glass

a very dark dark dark brown. almost black. light brown head that leaves a ton of lacing.

s cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, malt, vanilla

t a big malty beginning, dry bitter chocolate middle. the ending is bitter coffee, chocolate and chicory. the aftertaste is long lasting and is mocha, chicory and coffee and it is a bit dry

m thick and rich. smooth and great carbonation. big body and bold

o pretty good, but there are a lot better, easy to get Stouts out there.

thick, rich, delicious, dry, sweet. just fantastic. (555 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from brewtechnik, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a thick black color with a huge dark chocolate mousse of a head that has exceptional retention and lacing. Smells of chocolate, caramel, licorice, dark fruits, vinous, brown sugar, spicy earthy hops. Well it smells wonderful, so far so good. The flavor is big and thick. Lots of Caramel chocolate and brown sugar up front. Then some licorice and fruits move in, some sweet some tart. A bit of earth and ash come in next before a long lingering bitter dark chocolate with just a touch of oxidation. Thick thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet creamy silky sweet mouthfeel. Damn that a big thick beer! I'll bet that's sitting somewhere around 1.050 right now. Aside from being a bit on the sweet side this is one flavorful brew. (818 characters)

Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%. (1,155 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a jet, midnight black with a thick, dark tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of coffee, rich, dark chocolate, toasted nuts, freshly cracked grain, raisins, molasses, and a touch of maple.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a nod to chocolate malts and ripe fruit, which take over.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, syrupy, sticky, sweet, and roasty. (446 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is jet black with a ruby edging, with no head. Nose of bourbon, coffee, earthy notes, molasses, and booze. Flavors are smooth coffee and chocolate, with a solid booze undertone, char notes, and rich molasses. Wow! Velvety smooth body, with a rich, bittersweet, smooth aftertaste. The finish is slick, with a solid linger. Huge, but drinkable. (393 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for opening this one, Torry. Consumed on 11/23/2009 in a snifter. Pours out black like motor oil with a thick, creamy, two finger toffee brown head. Retention is excellent and lacing is scattered. The chocolate component reminds me of a dark chocolate cake. Booze is noticeable and there's and a dash of

Zhukov's RIS opens with dark fruit (plum, grape, currant) blackstrap molasses, and a strong charred malt character. There's a dash of brown sugary sweetness and vanilla. There's a nice moderate level of black coffee, it's not dominant but evident nonetheless. The chocolate toffee.

The flavor opens with aggressive hops, alcohol, and burnt malt. Blackstrap molasses is evident, as well as a light toffee sweetness. The dark chocolate component is strong, and it reminds me a bit of a truffle. Dark fruit is subtle. The beer is pleasant thus far. Midpalate, the roast becomes overdone and the booze is too aggressive. I can't get over the strong char. The finish is dark chocolate, a strong burnt roast, and coffee. It's bitter, aggressive, acrid, and astringent.

Full bodied with an upper level of carbonation and a sticky, chewy, and syrupy mouthfeel. (1,168 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's the other day.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. This beer looks pretty impressive, appearing almost viscuous like. The nose on this beer is impressive, with considerable coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Both on the nose and palate, this is really a pretty nice beer. On the palate, the beer is moderately sweet, with chocolate, coffee, stewed prunes and dark fruit. There is also a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish, which enhances drinkability in this beer. The sweetness and light hoppy bitterness is well balanced in this beer. Mouthfeel is soft and fairly plush, with a fairly long finish. Alcohol is noticeable, but is not obtrusive or intrusive. This is really a pretty nice beer. (766 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a thick black color with good carbonation.Nose is big and malty, with lots of chocolate and bitter. Taste is rough. Malty and bitter, chocolate, coffee, dark fruits a little sourness. Booze. Mouthfeel is bitter and dry, not appealing at all. Not one I would go back to.
///
Tried again at the South Sound gathering compliments of BA Piclee. I believe original review above was due to infection. This beer was phenom. One the biggest hearty RIS I have had. Big espresso, lots of charred notes, cocoa, and I even detected some smoked meats at times. (554 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Maltzilla for this brew.

750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a thick black color, nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy dark tan one-finger head, with some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with lots of chocolate/toffee, and a nice touch of coffee, vanilla, slight dark fruits. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, slightly bitter, with lots of chocolate/toffee, and some coffee, nice touch of vanilla, also some slight dark fruits. Full/medium body, the ABV is hidden pretty well. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from CC. Thanks Diego! (607 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
2.53/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours inky black with no activity. Just a thin layer of foam on the top that very quickly dissipates to a reddish-brown ring.

S: Dominant aroma of blackstrap molasses, with some notes of vanilla, green pepper, and licorice.

T: I'm trying to pick out individual flavors, but it's just something of a muddy "dark" flavor. The biggest thing that stands out is that weird green pepper note. Cocoa powder in the aftertaste. As it warms, a bit more chocolate comes out, but there's also an acrid note that becomes more noticeable.

M: Quite astringent and drying. Virtually no carbonation. A bit cloying.

O: This beer doesn't really come together for me. It's big and bold, but in a muddled and indistinct way, and there's some peculiar notes that I find off-putting (green pepper?). Definitely not one of my top choices of the style. (834 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2010 bottle courtesy of korguy123. Thanks!
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured ink black. One of the blackest beers I have ever seen. Not too much head formed but there was a small amount of espresso coloured head.

S - Cocoa, molasses, coffee, some licorice and hints of dark fruit.

T - Cocoa, roasted malts, molasses, coffee, licorice and faint notes of dark fruit. Fairly sweet. Very complex.

M - Medium body, somewhat viscous at times but somewhat lighter at other times. The carbonation was very light; almost somewhere between flat and light carbonation. A little more carbonation would have really made a difference here.

O - An excellent RIS. Aside from the slight carbonation issue, not much to complain about here. (735 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a FW tulip

dark black pour with a great dark brown head. smell is extremely chocolately and malty. very aromatic. the taste is so sweet. tons of chocolate. no bitterness at all. real impressive RIS!! VERY full bodied. mild carbonation.

overall great. thanks Taylor! (287 characters)

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 513 ratings.