Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged - Cigar City Brewing
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Ratings: 100 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
4.65/5 rDev +6.7%
Super huge thanks to Jeff for busting this one out as a nice surprise. In a flip-top growler for around a year, hopefully it has held up okay. It pours out of the growler inky and oily, completely black in color, much like the regular iteration of Zhukov. Understandable, there is basically no head that forms; simply a minuscule, deep-mocha ring that surfaces at the circumference of this black-hole brew and nothing else. Very quiet and still in the glass.
Whatever was lost in terms of appearance can be forgiven as soon as you finally smell this beer - it's absolutely fantastic. Sensational brandy notes, both sweet and warming with fine hints of booze and apples. Rich, dense, fudge-covered chocolate cake, backed with mounds of dark fruits; dates and figs, rolled and covered in brown sugar. It sounds like a diabetic's nightmare, but the sweetness is really monitored so well.
Some warmth brings forth even more aromas; more molasses, more brown sugar, and more, sweet, sweet apple brandy. The coffee that was so heavy in the original Marshal Zhukov's stout seems to have lots it's magic here, but no matter - the apple brandy aging (and possibly a year in the growler) has turned the base beer into a whole new monster, at least aromatically.
I take a sip, and immediately I am both surprised and enthralled to find that the flavor actually does have some intense, roasted coffee notes in it - much akin to the regular Zhukov stout - and it blends perfectly with the other flavors here. Roasty coffee beans, chocolate cake, rich and dark fudge, burnt, sticky toffee, and a whole lotta wet oak in the background.
The apple brandy flows through the entire profile so perfectly. Warm, boozy, and ever-present, yet it's miles and miles away from ever being "hot". This is certainly only of the smoothest inclusions of brandy barrels I've ever tasted. Lots of silky, sweet prunes and dates in the finish, along with more apple-like, boozy brandy and mild after-notes of chocolate and coffee.
Even with virtually no carbonation (although there was still a *touch* left in the growler), this brew was insanely palatable. It was definitely huge on the palate; silky, chewy, thick, and beyond viscous, and there's not doubt that a year of mellowing out did nothing but help. I would imaging that just a touch more carbonation would be excellent, but I still don't have much to complain about at this point.
So out of the 20+ beers that were consumed this night, this beer was far and away the best in show. Just insane, really. Marshal Zhukov is an amazing stout, first and foremost, and tossing that sucker in apple brandy barrels just takes things to a whole different level and gives you a completely out-of-this-world, barrel aged stout. Again, such a huge thanks to Jeff for this nice surprise. What an amazing brew.
07-15-2013 16:17:38 | More by tectactoe
4.33/5 rDev -0.7%
On-tap, served in a snifter
This bad boy sits a sinister ink black in the glass. A true motor oil type of body when swirled. A thin dark khaki cap rises and falls quickly, leaving some sporadic bubbles along the edges. The nose is extremely bold and robust. Huge roasted malt, brandy, oak, molasses, licorice, vanilla, and dark Belgian chocolate. On the palate, it follows the nose. Huge roast notes up front, before sticky toffee, licorice, and molasses through the middle. Brandy notes all over the place with vanilla and chocolate presenting in the finish. Whoa boy. I can't get over just how bold this beer is. I wasn't the biggest fan of the regular Zhukov but this beer is phenomenal. I got a huge char presence in the regular Zhukov that seems to be much more subdued and tolerable in this guy. Definitely one of the most in your face beers I have ever had. Big, thick, full body with low carbonation. Lingering roast and brandy just never seems to go away.
09-21-2012 20:28:06 | More by ColForbinBC
3.55/5 rDev -18.6%
A: Poured a sluggish black with almost no carbonation leaving a dirty white ring on the adge with light lacing
S: Rich cocoa, a big whiff of brandy, wood Earthiness and blend of dark fruits and coffee beans
T: Starts with a big deep chocolate, roastiness and brandy plus some old wood and Earthiness which slowly transitions to coffee, dark fruit with the brandy, smokey leather and cocoa still sitting ont he palate. The finish is a bit sweet, rather dry with some light bitterness and booze from like acetone or something
M: Big and thick but flat as a board
O: Good despite being super low on carbonation, the odd booziness.
08-07-2012 17:46:39 | More by barleywinefiend
4.33/5 rDev -0.7%
Pours a very deep black with a tan head. The head was a litle undersized but did leave a nice degree of lacing around the glass.
Nice strong aroma of alcohol (in this case brandy) with some other notes of chocolate and coffee. The flavor is very spot on to the aroma. A very big beer where the alcohol is the main spotlight. Chocolate does come across but mostly in the finish. The mouthfeel is thick and a little oily and big alcohol.
This was an amazing beer that developed a lot of complexity and if bottled would only have gotten better. If you see this beer order it right away, but be warned you will be sipping on it for a bit.
07-23-2012 21:39:10 | More by Tobe
4.33/5 rDev -0.7%
On tap from dixie cup
Pours jet black with a very small ebony head that leaves no retention. No visibility through the pour. Smells of sweetness with hints of coffee. Taste is huge. Super sweet up front with hints of fruit and a nice bitter coffee centered backbone. Mouthfeel is quite viscous. Overall this is amazing. So glad I got to try this.
07-10-2012 12:18:43 | More by abrand
4.45/5 rDev +2.1%
Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at the release at CCB tasting room. Poured into a snifter.
A: Jet black with a small tan head. No visible carbonation. Don't know where to put observations about consistency, but this is thick and sticky to the touch.
S: Brandy, alcohol, chocolate, coffee.
T: Everything you would expect from the aroma, but has some sweet caramely flavor also.
M: Thick, sweet, sticky. Alcohol presence is high, punch you in the mouth high.
O: Excellent, and I think the barrel aging helps this beer develop more (and interesting) characteristics. Certainly is a sipping beer!
06-21-2012 03:54:42 | More by macrosmatic
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.