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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: 2,475
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 9.81%
Wants: 1,184
Gots: 846 | 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: 2,475
Photo of calcio360jrd
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh zhukov, you are still one of my top 5 fav beers.

Bottle poured into my st bernardus chalice, hell no i didn't share this with anyone else tonite!

I have read forum posts about people saying which beer is the darkest, and they sure are right when they say that it is the marshal, black as nite this one is.

Lovely roastiness off the nose of this one, little bitter chocolate smell and coffee, sounds like what i had about 14 hours before this with my breakfast.

In some ways i actually prefer the taste of the regular version of zhukov to all the other treatments for the sheer fact of how clean it is, the alcohol is there but not in the forefront, the coffee taste is very prevalent to me.

This overall is just a great, if not the best, imperial stout for my money on the market, glad i got about another dozen bottles here around the house!

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Photo of olimpia84
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap during my visit to CCB. Beer was poured into a CCB snifter.

A: pitch black body with a creamy one finger chocolate milk colored head and beautiful viscous lacing as the beer goes down.

S: strong aromas of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts that cordially invite you to sip on this beer. Amazing.

T: follows the nose very closely with a thick presence of coffee, dark chocolate milkshake, brownies and lots of roasted malts. Slight sweet aftertaste that ends up begging your palate to go back for some more. Complex taste, yet very well executed; this is an amazing Imperial Stout.

M: I've never had something like this before. Smooth, creamy, soft, thick, and sticky mouthfeel. Let me mention the word smooth again because that's the keyword to describe this. Full body with low carbonation, the high alcohol level is not really felt at all.

O: Best qualities are the taste and the mouthfeel; this beer is an example of how to set the bar high...really high for Imperial Stouts. It was a pleasure enjoying this beer from start to finish, it's the perfect "dessert" beer if you ask me. God bless CCB.

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Photo of PatrickBeebe
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage poured into a CCB snifter. Pours darker than a black hole. It sucks light out of it's surroundings. Super thick, almost black head. Smells rich, dark, complex, malty, smokey, chocolately, boozy, peaty, and even smoky. Taste is very complex, almost indescribable. So rich, 100 diferent levels of flavor and taste come through. Taste like a big ball of smoked cereal, covered in chocolate, rolled in dirt, smoked with peat moss. Everything about this brew is amazing. The label says it pairs well with ground wars, and after a full bottle I'm about ready tp start one just to find out. Very thick. If it was not labeled properly, I could mistake it for the leftovers of my last oil change. No discernable off flavors. Just pure, unadulterated Russian Stout here. And on National Stout Day to top it all off!

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

A-Dark opaque body with thick chocolate colored head. Just plan beautiful.

S-Deep chocolate and coffee notes

T-Extremely sweet start with a maple and chocolate body and a intense but perfect bitter end.

M-Thick, thick, thick! Probably the heaviest beer i have ever had.

O-So happy to have had this beer, the taste was out of this world. But i just could not finish it. It was to heavy, even for me, and i love big stouts. I probably would have given it a higher rating if it wasn't so heavy. But i cannot wait for next years batch. Another unique fabulous beer by CCB.

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Photo of indurTheB
5/5  rDev +16.8%

The 2014 is way better than 2013. Had a pint while waiting for the bottle release at Cigar City on August 4th, 2014. The 2013 has a "bread" taste to it. This year its much more crisp and refreshing. Hard to believe that there were 200+ people in line for this when last year on release day I waited in a 3 person line.

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Photo of cbak999
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - DARK DARK DARK...motor oil dark. Just a slight head and even it is dark.

S - burnt caramel, burnt chocolate, molasses, vanilla, very complex!!!

T - over the top. There's so much going on, it's hard to even review. A bit boozie, but the caramel, burnt chocolate, and molasses tastes all come through.

D - well, you aren't going to sit down and drink a bottle by yourself...or if you do, you won't remember the second half. It's a great sipper. Needs to be cold out, because this will warm you up.

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Photo of BlastBeats
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade from bryanole27.. thanks man!
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout has been a long time want of mine.

Appearance: Served appropriately in my Cigar City snifter - Marshal Zhukov's glugs from it's 750mL bottle with such viscosity that comparisons to motor oil become inevitable.. the head on this thing is a foreboding espresso color. It's also impenetrable to light; completely opaque and one of the darkest beers I've ever seen.

Smell: charred malt with touch of mustiness; there's that uniquely British hop aroma in there as well.

Taste: a bunch of dark chocolate along with some dark toffee, espresso, and molasses.. the finish is what sets this beer apart though - it's surprisingly earthy and herbal. I remember reading someone's take on Marshal Zhukov's here on Beer Advocate and they used the descriptor "scorched earth." I feel like that illustrates the finish on this one pretty well. It's almost as if there's a dirt like quality to this stout (it sounds bad, but it works!).

Mouthfeel: few beers can rival Zhukov's density.. it's borderline chewy. The carbonation level is low, allowing for a smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: I'm really glad I finally got to try this one.. If I were still living in Florida, I would pick up a couple bottles every August when it's released.

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Photo of xpdrinker
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - 25.4oz bottle courtesy of biggsbowler (thanks!). Bottle July '11. Pours like sludge. Super pitch black, monster dark brown head. 

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, booze-soaked dark fruit, molasses and a little raisin. Little bit of vanilla.

T - Cocoa, chocolate truffles, slightly nutty. Dark fruit, vanilla. Fantastic.

M - Like a bucket of black paint. Carbonation has faded a little but this thing coats the mouth and stays. You can almost chew on it.

O - This is probably not only my favorite stout but also my favorite beer. Perhaps it's destiny that it's released the same month as my birthday. I'll be getting an entire case next year.

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Photo of cpmichael
3.57/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

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Photo of SiepJones
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a thick black body with a thin dark brown head. Roasty Malt wafts from your glass and a slight hint of alcohol reminds you how much artillery the Marshal is packing. The flavor begins with a nice roasted malt, into a bitter dark chocolate, then a hint of toffee on the finish. The body is very chewy and creamy with a slight nip at the end from the alcohol. The thin head that began disappears with each sip. Overall an excellent offering from Cigar City and now one of my favorite imperial stouts.

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Photo of scottyg354
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This is a black beer, no doubt about it. Head has a brown/reddish tint to it and last for a little. Lacing is nice. Pours thick, like a light chocolate syrup. No seeing through this bad boy.

S: Lots of roastiness, malt and some alcohol. Dark chocolate notes are also present.

T:This beer is good, but it has a lot of odd notes. Up front you get a smoked cherries type flavor (my brother in law compared it to like a beef jerky taste, weird!), the on the back end you get espresso and dark chocolate, with some fig notes. Decent.

M: Thick, thick, thick. This beer feels exactly like it appears Pretty damn close to a stout shake!

O: Not a bad beer, don't be turned off by the weird tasting notes I described. That's what makes craft beer, craft beer. Give it a shot!

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Photo of MBrausen
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a CBS snifter.

A. Pours a dark black, mocha brown head the settled to a light foam layer.

S. Smells of chocolate, toffee, and a little caramel.

T. Tastes of milk chocolate, light toffee and caramel with a mild hop profile showing.

M. Very thick and chewy, malty and very sticky finish.

O. Super good beer. Amazingly simple and pleasureful beer, chocolate in the right amounts, a great RIS and well made. I will be looking for a bottle of this in the future.

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Photo of headbucket
3.15/5  rDev -26.4%
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.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into a heffe glass just for grins... pours thick motor oil black!!! with a deep brown thick foamy head about 3 in. with lace. maybe my glass was the prob. but the head retention lasts forever.

smells of sweet malt and bitter chocolate some pine and citrus hops also noted... mmmm i can't wait! slight alcohol notes toward the end barely...

where to begin... how about WOW!!!! everything i have been hoping this beer would be. complex and big as hell!!! malt sweetness to start with a light almost milky vanilla flavor then abrupt bitter coffee takes over... then a pause with dark cherry features and then come the hops.... floral and then almost piney. amazing complexity!!!

MY FIRST ALL 5 BEER!!! just noticed that!
mouth feel is thick and creamy that allows flavors to linger.

Overall i am very impressed with this beer... totally worth the $16 i paid for the 1 pint 9.4oz bomber. YOU NEED TO TRY THIS BEER!!!! i have been waiting and searching all over for this one and it lived up and beyond my own hype!!!

just noticed this is my first ALL 5 BEER!!!

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This stout pours a perfect used motor oil black and very thick. The head was a dark caramel color that faded away quick. Could taste a smokey dark chocolate with a hint of some fruit.

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Photo of hrking
2.66/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was not impressed with this beer after all the hype about these beers being so good I guess I expected more. Bitter flavors and over roasted grains and not really giving a good example of the style compared to other RIS's . I was trying to find some of the flavors described on the bottle and had a hard time pulling them out. I would love to try the Hunapaus when it comes out but at this point its going to half to be pretty damn good to win me back over. This one was average at best.

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Photo of CASK1
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My New Year's Eve treat. I've been holding on to this for a little while, and was quite nervous due to the carbonation issues aired on several BA threads. No problem here!

Pours thick, nearly black, and opaque. The darkest head I've ever seen on a beer. Nice and dense, fades after a few swallows, but leaves a ring of foam to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is burnt toast, black coffee, and a background of dark chocolate. Light spicy hops, and soft alcohol. Low fruitiness of figs and raisins, mostly overwhelmed by the roast malt.

Flavor is similar to aroma, but the sweet chocolate is more up front. Chocolate, coffee, and burnt malts. Sweetness up front fades to a low, lingering bitterness from both roast malts and hops. Low spicy hop flavor and low esters of dark fruit.

Thick, rich full body, almost viscous. Low but adequate carbonation. Alcohol is warming, but subtle and sneaky.

As drinkable as a RIS can be. I'd like a little more hop bitterness to balance the malt sweetness, but this is an awesome take on the style.

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Photo of unionturf
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received this from a friend in Fla and after 6 months I had to try it.

This beer pours pitch black with a very nice 1" head. Smells of a roast and cocoa flavor and it is a very smooth beer considering the style and ABV.

Very heavy which is cool, loved how when I was finished in the bottom of my Chimay glass there was a stout/cocoa looking powdery sediment in the bottom.

Excellent beer and a great first impression from Cigar CIty brewery. Can't wait to try the brown ale I have next.

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Photo of phattysbox
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 32oz growler at the Bowery beer room (Whole Foods - NYC).

Poured jet black into a 7 oz tasting glass. Motor oil in color and consistency, one ca tell this is going to be a very viscous brew. A small 1/2 inch chocolate colored head establishes itself and lingers for quite a while. Surprised given the ABV. Looks great int he glass.

Smell: Nose is really complex here. Strong caramel and sweet malts dominate. Burnt raisins, plums, and dark chocolate fill the air when this is poured. Some roast but held in check by copious amounts of malt sweetness.

Taste: Quick flash of acrid roastiness that gives way to coffee-like character. Actually the coffee notes are quite strong in the brew and is very pleasing. The coffee/cappuccino notes mix well with a heavy malt profile. Chocolate covered figs and plums, followed by roasted caramel. The ABV is held in check with this brew - only a slight warming is noted. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and spot on for an RIS.

Overall: Great beer. Glad to be drinking this on a cold winter's night. Lots of complex things going on here - seek it out. I've never tried their barrel versions of this brew so I might have to now.

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Photo of ELS
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Picked up a couple bottles of MZ 2014 and decided to drink one now and cellar the other bottle. I had high expectations for this RIS being a big fan of Cigar City but was underwhelmed. Although it has a nice jet black color and layer of tannish foam the aroma did not appeal to me. Smells very boozy and I pick up some notes of licorice and tobacco but they are overpowered by the boozy smell. The taste again was very boozy which didn't allow me to fully appreciate the chocolate, tobacco and licorice flavors. I also found the bitterness to be too much (I like hoppy beers so it's not that I don't like a bitter beer in general). Again, it overpowers the other flavors and doesn't do much for the balance. I'm going to cellar my second bottle for a year or two and maybe all the flavors will come together and offer a completely different/better beer.

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Photo of mindspin315
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one sexy Russian Imperial Stout! Poured out a huge red hued brown head. Dark as dark can be. Lacing and legs for days.

Smells like rich fudge brownies, anise, dark chocolate cake, cocoa powder up front. Roasted grain and espresso grinds come through from the middle to the end. A light faint aroma of plum and wet pipe tobacco sits in the background. Very rich and creamy.

Big dark chocolate notes right away. Bittersweet chocolate comes in right after the rich dark chocolate flavor. Drinks like a thick chocolate milk. A touch of alcohol comes through on the tongue about midway through, but overall this is so masked you could never tell this 11%. Deep roasted grain sits on the palate in the finish along with dark roast coffee, espresso bitterness, and both sweet milk & dark chocolates. Creamy rich body, thick and sticky coating all over the mouth. So sticky its like glue.

This dominated my palate just like George Zhukov dominated in his military conquests. Not to many RIS can claim to be so full bodied and coating when compared to this one. Very impressed and will be seeking this one out again and again and again.


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

deep-ass black, the darkest head ive seen yet, this just after drinking black tuesday and the abyss. pillowy too. superb.

smell is prominently fruit. is it melon? watermelon? hard to tell. next up, wondering why i havent noticed them yet, are roasts that vary from familiar roasted malts to those id smell emanating from a coffee grinder.

taste is bitter, big molasses, fruitiness that includes that mystery melon from before along with prunes that were picked as not-quite-ripe plums, a bitterness that i perceive to be coming from hops that havent done us the favor of fading yet. the coffee comes through and might share some of that bitterness as well, but also provides a nice roastiness.

for an imperial stout, a medium mouthfeel that could stand to be a bit thicker. regardless, it is quite nice and is certainly as thick as many in this style that ive tried. i think it was not done justice by following black tuesday and the abyss. but, that is how it happened.

this is the least balanced of the three. the bitterness is a couple notches too high, as i prefer my stouts sweet and decadent. however, if youre into those more hop-forward stouts, you may find this one quite to your liking.

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Photo of hmf05
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured pretty black and left a small head that quickly dissipated. The aroma was coffee, chocolate, plums, cherries, black currant, and a hint of rubbing alcohol. The taste was just like the smell. Sweet dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate dominated. Pretty smooth going down but there is a hint of alcohol. Overall, a great RIS. The alcohol taste is noticeable and probably the only thing wrong with this beer, but at 11.5% what do you expect?

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

The latest edition, 2011.
Pour is so huge that I have to place it in my sink as it foams over. This head is intensely chocolate brown with a dark as night body.
Cocoa, chocolate, some bitter lemon hops, and caramel sauce in the nose.
Very, very smooth. It is sweet, but not too much, more like a chocolate milk although the hop character balances nicely so it doesn't become cloying.
This has a good body and it is sweeter than I would would like, but not sticky, as it is quite drinkable for a big beer like this without having over the top carbonation in the feel.
Moves toward a caramel, chocolate sundae topped with crushed pecans and dried Turkish figs, which makes it much better than average.

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

Poured from bottle into tulip. Completely black, with thin chocolate head that finishes with just a ring. Nose has lots of toffee, espresso, alcohol, and dark malt. Taste has a good amount of dark chocolate, coffee, salty toffee, dark fruits, and slight earthy hops. Mouthfeel is good, coats the inside well with the chocolate, heavy body with calm carbonation. Overall, very grateful to have tried this, nice with the cold weather.

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