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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.

521 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 521
Hads: 2,478
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 21.26%
Wants: 1,184
Gots: 847 | FT: 78
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: 521 | Hads: 2,478
Photo of Duff27
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pitch black, no head. Motor oil viscosity. Nice alcohol legs.

Some roastiness. The smell doesn't do a whole lot for me.

Like the taste a hell of a lot more than the nose. Coffee, roast. Has this zip to it, yeses.

Mouthfeel is palatial. So thick. Adequate carbonation.

Wow, this one is all about the viscous appearance and thick(!!!) mouthfeel. Sets it apart. Thanks egrace84.

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big ole 750 received a while back from Drink1121... Huge thanks for the bottles Caleb!! I'm still broke and diving a bit into the cellar... Poured into my Delirium goblet.

2 Finger head is very dark brown ... it seems to die fairly quickly though and doesn't leave much lace... cap is pretty. Brew is black.. no light escaping.

Rich and malty... very fruity with alot of prunes and dried cherries.. lite cocoa... espresso... really very complex... I've just been sniffing it for probably ten minutes now.

Waves of dark malts begin with dark roast... and then a big blast of cocoa... that sorta turns into a bit of a coffee chocolate cordial mid-palate with some caramel maltiness... dark cherries linger on the finish with a bit of drying dark grain and cocoa.. very nice body with a bit lighter than average carbonation actually helps the mouthfeel be very smooth.

As it warms quite a bit of char and ash shows and sorta limits drinkability for me... still is very very complex but a definite sipper that makes you think.


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Photo of vfgccp
3.81/5  rDev -11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

July 2011 bottle, opened Aug 2012

A - Wow, the pour is liquid bowling ball black. Thick, creamy, milk chocolate brown head with fantastic retention and lace. Zero highlights on the solid black body.

S - Warm booze, balsamic, black molasses, toffee, savory, and anise.

T - Thick sweet molasses, burnt toast, dark roast coffee, cherry and plum fruits, toffee, dry dark chocolate, and cream.

M - Chewy mouthfeel. About as thick as they come.

O - Aggressive flavor profile; this bottle is definitely meant for sharing. It feels more over the top than in balance, which is cool if it's your thing but it's a little much for me.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- so viscous and pitch black. A dark brown head fading to a tiny lacing.

S - roasty burnt grains. Dark bitter chocolate. Cocoa powder.

T - charcoal burnt wood. Chocolate syrup. faint black licorice ending. Sweet alcohol. hints of earthy bread and some hop floral. So sweet. Lactose?

M - possibly the thickest stout ever. So viscous d'ass heavy bodied.

O - pretty wel balanced for 11.5 abv and such a heavy body

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Photo of kscaldef
2.53/5  rDev -40.9%
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.

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Photo of aasher
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I received this bottle from thagr81us in a past massive trade. Thanks once again Calton!

This bottle was the 2010 vintage. This one pours a blackest of black, motor oil sludge in consistency with absolutely no head or activity. It smells of rich and smooth milk and dark chocolates, featuring both sweet and bitter malt characters with a good amount of coffee. The sweetness is almost Baltic-esque. The flavors are heavy on chocolates, all types of chocolates. Initially I got a good amount of milk chocolate, followed by coffee. It is quickly followed by a dark chocolate bitterness and plenty of roasted malts. It's just really sweet, which takes away from the overall balance. It drinks exceptionally smooth, as one should expect. Overall it's a nice RIS but it is on the sweet side. I can see where Nielsborium got it's sugar from and I can see the base of Hunahpu as well. It's a solid beer, worthy of barrel aging and new additions, but alone it's nothing too special.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
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!

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Photo of tobelerone
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, enjoyed 3/12

A jet-black beer that pours like motor oil, thick and sludgy, with a big brown bubbly head that settles down slowly. Lacing is sticky; the glass looks like I had an ice cream sundae, not a beer.

Nice nose; lots of chocolate, both bitter and milk, anise, espresso, roasty malt, and a just a trace of booze.

Big and tasty, the way this style is supposed to be. It’s all here, tons of chocolately goodness, coffee and roast, just a hint of tobacco, molasses, toffee, caramel, a bit of hoppy bitterness, but just so, in the finish. Sweet, fudgy and desert-worthy; paired especially well with chocolate chip brownies for an over-the-top diabetes-inducing indulgence.

The body on this one is perfect; go big or go home. Tons of chew, thick, thick, thick, low carbonation, your lips are sticky after a sip.

I feel like this one can hang in there with almost any other example of this style. To me it was like going to San Diego and drinking fresh Pliny, Nelson, Kern River, etc. How to say which is best? They are all tremendous examples of American IPAs. Put this one up there with the KBS and the BCBS and the rest in my book. It’s like comparing Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, etc., etc. It’s not that one is better than the other, but rather, who are you in the mood for today?

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.41/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev -6.5%
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%.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to Matt for the bottle!

It pours black with a 2 finger head of tan foam.

The smell is all sorts of complex; coffee, milk chocolate, toffee, sweet malt, molasses. Wow.

The taste follows suit. All the smells are there with the bottom line of this being a very malty/sweet RIS with just enough bitterness to keep it from getting cloying. Super good tasting and the alcohol is hidden pretty well.

The smoothest of mouthfeels with a better drinkability rating than it has a right to, this is simply marvelous.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. This one is a pretty thick pour. Pours a pitch black color with a tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malts and chocolate notes. 

T- The taste is big and roasty with ton of roasted malt flavors with some unsweetened chocolate, espresso, and some bitterness from the hops in the warming finish. Very nice! All the flavors blend very well together.

M- The mouthfeel is full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is yet another fantastic beer from Cigar City. I can't wait to try this again with some more age on it! 

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Photo of wordemupg
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into tulip 24/10/14, big cheers towards alfie for the bottle

A motor oil black before it hits the glass, two fingers of super dark foam quickly ends up as a thin film leaving no lace

S bruised plum, chocolate covered raisins, chocolate syrup, faint coffee and smoke, some licorice, more chocolate syrup, some earthy notes, smells rich

T faint spicy notes but it could be left over from some my pork chop seasoning, lots of chocolate of all sorts, no booze anywhere, more coffee then the nose but its still mellow, some molasses and more licorice, a more intense version of the nose

M very thick and syrupy, low carbonation but not flat, sticky on the lips, no booze and an intense coffee and char finish

O thick and rich, lots of chocolate and bonus points for completely hiding the booze, there's zero at every point

well put together RIS, could use some more carbonation but that's my only complaint and its a minor one

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes on 4.20.11

25.4oz bottle poured into a Tulip glass.

A - Dark-deep brown in color, almost black with a slight head that is dark brown and only forms on the eges.

S - Slight coffee and lots of toffee.

T - Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and toffee.

D - Little carbonation, but thick and mouth coating.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This might be the darkest, thickest pour I've ever seen, head, carbonation missing from it, but with a beer of such style, who cares? No lace to it, no head to it. Aroma is very easy going. Aroma is pretty faint, chocolate, ever so slight booze.

Taste, a sipper for sure, thick, chewy, not a lot of any component jumping out other than chewiness. No coffee, a decent amount of chocolate. Don't taste any vanilla or wood. Just tons and tons of roasted malt, maybe some oatmeal to round all this out into a tasty concoction. If I could pick this up for $10 all the time, you can bet it would be always on hand.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle - Thanks to lubiere for this

Appearance - Black/brown colour with a large size fizzy/frothy brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, malts, smoke, nuts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it isn't as syrupy feeling as I expected. I can taste lots of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and some nuts. There is also a nice amount of smoke mixed with malts. It ends with a bitter sweet aftertaste.

Overall – One of the better RIS's Ive had. Although the taste is big and bold, it's still very drinkable and well balanced. I'd love to have a few bottles of this tucked away.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks again to Matt for sharing!

(A)- Pours pitch black, with one of the darkest brown colors in a head I have ever seen.

(S)- Aroma-wise, fairly straightforward for the style with some rich bits of raisin and molasses and a good underlying roasted profile.

(T)- A touch different from the smell in that, it has the classic roastedness and rich bits, but it almost tastes like it has an underlying honey-like sweetness throughout the flavor profile of the beer; interesting.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Perhaps a touch sweeter than I was expecting, but it blends well and counterbalances what might have been quite a strong roasted profile. It definitely cut out some of the residual bitterness too.

(O)- Not sure how old this particular bottle was, but I did enjoy the slightly different nuances this beer put out. Not overly complex for the style, but it fits the style well.

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Photo of claspada
3.66/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft @ GingerMan NYC. Pours a dark dark dark brown (pretty much black) with a crazy thick inch of dark brown foam/head which leaves a boat ton of sticky brown lacing.

Aromas of extreme dark chocolate, roasted malts and dark bitter chocolate. As it warms I get some sweet dark molasses and a little smoke in the background. Some hefty espresso emerges and begins to dominate it continues to warm.

The taste is initially astringent dark roasty malts and dark bitter chocolate. Roasted charred malts are also rather prominent. Strong coffee/espresso notes come through as well. Some sweeter milk chocolate emerges as it warms but the roasted, bitter, astringent malts are a bit too dominant and a taste I am slowly beginning to dislike in my beers.

Mouthfeel is sticky and full bodied for sure. Chewy in an understatement here. Extremely thick, syrupy, viscous and mouth-coating. Much more carbonation than I experienced in last year's bottled version which had some carbonation issues I recall reading somewhere.

Overall this is a good tasting beer but the heavy chewiness in the body and roasted bitter, charred malt flavors are just too dominant for my tastes. I would prefer some more balanced milk chocolate flavors but I guess that is more the American Stout category as opposed to the RIS category here. Better than I remember, but my small sample at the bar was enough as I would struggle to finish the 750ml that this is typically bottled in. Maybe I am just over the Russian Imperial Stout category or my tastes have just shifted away from enjoying these huge chewy beast beers.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a pitch black cola body with a tan head and a roasted chocolate smell as well as coffee, some toasted/burnt malt as well. A thick, slightly smooth body with loads of coffee malt taste along with hints of toffee and bitter chocolate. Dryness eminates from the coffee malts as well as ABV peeking through, in a good way, and is a great beer to sip on.

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Photo of glid02
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a friend.

Pours blacker than black with a half-finger dark brown head. The head is one of the darkest I can remember seeing and settles into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of deeply roasted malts with hints of unsweetened chocolate. As it warms the malt aromas sweeten considerably and hints of molasses waft out.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Robust roasted malt flavors with an acrid character kick things off and are joined midway through the sip by unsweetened chocolate flavors. The ending is solidly bitter and holds slight notes of coffee. As with the smell the flavor profile sweetens a good deal once it warms a bit, with the roasted malt flavors losing acridity and dark molasses flavors permeating throughout.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass, and the second one, and could have had a few more.

Overall I was a bit disappointed with this one right out of the bottle, but once it has a chance to warm it gains complexity and comes into its own. Worth a shot.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.52/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Agent Zero.

Super excited to try this after many other CCB successes, but this really let me down....Pours dark brown with a medium tan head that is gone in a microsecond if its shows its head at all, which on two of the three pours it didn't...Aroma is light chocolate, mildly sweet but plain and boring...The taste is also light malt to start then a very ashy bitter coffee finish. Just very blah for a stout.

Nothing worth securing, an above average beer, but a clearly below average RIS.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pour is deep, viscous black with a frothy white head and great lacing. Big leather, roasty, black licorice, pruney, raisins, caramelly, anise, and brown sugary aroma. Taste is deep dark chocolate, cocoa, espresso, anise, black licorice, earthy, a touch of grass, leather, and char with a roasted bitter finish. Thick oily mouthfeel with soft carbonation. Rich, decadent and very smooth for 11%. Nice!

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I think it was Matt (drabmuh) that brought this yesterday. Thank you!

Jet black with a dark brown hear with great retention and thick lace, this is quite the looker. The nose is great too, plenty of roast, some pine hop aroma and bitterness along with a bit of a grainy bitterness. Bittersweet cocoa, espresso and a touch of alcohol round out the nose.
The palate opens big and bitter with a burnt grain bitterness, roast, bitter chocolate and a little cream. Some licorice character is noticeable too. Roasty and bitter on the finish, this is solid. Big and full in body with low carbonation, this beer is really good, but a little bit goes a long way.

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 521 ratings.