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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged - Cigar City Brewing

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel AgedMarshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged

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101 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 11.21%
Wants: 131
Gots: 3 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gtreid on 01-17-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 61
Photo of ColdPoncho
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks urbancaver

from notes

A - good dark black body, no head really.

S - freshly pressed apples...it's beautiful. a bit of roasted malts in there too

T - very sweet apples, nicely balanced with roasty malts

M - smooth and thick, great.

O (D) - a big and tasty beer that smells great, pretty highly enjoyable

Photo of BZero007
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle received from J2Brew2, Thank you sir!
Shared at a DC area BA tasting, I believe a little over a week from the release.

Came in the Cigar Gity's 32 oz Growler with a label on it refering it as the Brandy Zhukoz. Cap on this thing is a bit tricky and recomend taping any of there growlers that are sent.

Pours a syrupy black color in to the glass with a bit of head forming in the glass. Head is a extreme dark brown color and crumples down with in a few minutes. The aroma is of a roasty dark chocolate aroma is very present. In the background pushing through you have apples and brandy. All the smells are easily picked up and very nice. Taste was of a extremly roasty dark chocolate with a candy apple background. The brandy taste was little non other than the apple flavor in the fore front. The body on this brew was bit too much for me personally. The body was extremly thick and was not enjoyable to drink. It seemed to have the body of something you would use as a syrup instead.

Overall I am very happy with getting to try this concotion. If you have a chance it is a very interesting brew and would recomend trying it out.

Photo of MrFootstones
4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The 32oz CCB growler opens with a small hiss, and pours much like the Four Roses version, which is to say "dark black" (if there is such a thing), looking quite like motor oil as it glugs into the glass. Darkest head and body I recall having seen.

As I opened it and as I noted the appearance, the heavy apple brandy aroma has been assaulting my nostrils. Let's go in for a closer sniff... Someone I work with makes apple jack and this reminds me of it. Not having had Laird's before I feel like I get a good idea of it here, as the apple spirits character is nigh unmistakable after trying the bourbon variant. Almost all I get is the barrel character, at least without it having warmed substantially.

The taste starts out much like the aroma. So much apple brandy character it's ridiculous. Not until the finish does the base beer become noticeable in the taste. Apple flavored candy to start. Really nothing else. The finish sees the oak barrels coming through, as well as the heavily roasted base beer. Very delicious, but overpowering flavors were relinquished by the barrel. Some chocolate and vanilla emerge mid palate as it warms.

Mouthfeel is just epic in MZ. So viscous, chewy, rich, and decadent. CCB knows how to make a stout.

This was a great beer, but it seems the barrels really took over. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but I guess it's new. I don't blink an eye when I drink a beer overpowered by a bourbon barrel. This was a very interesting and different beer and it was a pleasure to try it.

Photo of KevSal
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

last minute extra from Jefe73, can thank you enough Jeff for pullin this one off. thanks buddy!

Out of a growler into a Cigar City Growler poured with my gf, gotto get into it asap!

Appearance- looks amazing, wasnt expecting too much carbonation but got a nice half inch mocha head. the appearance is delicious (plus these CC growlers are mega cool)

Smell- Wow this gets top marks. as soon as I opened it the room was filled with stong apples and brandy scents. sticking my nose in the glass gives me an apple covered with chocolate. Zhukov is there too with some bourbon, but not as much as i was expecting at first. half way through the glass the booze and brandy becomes more pronounced. a swirl of the glass unleashes that awesome chocolate apple again

Taste- hmm this stuff taste great. you can still taste the base beer, its a unique taste. The flavor has been seriously boosted, great bandy sweetness and barrel taste.

Mouthfeel- coasts the entire mouth, the flavor gets all over and its great. much better mouthfeel than was expecting actually. very little alcohol burn, very smooth.

Overall- overall a very good experience. even better is knowing there's 15-20 ounces left! i feel very lucky to get to try this guy.
great beer for after dinner. wish they bottled this and i wish i had some aging in the cellar.

Photo of readbaron
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a hard time describing this beer. I'm happy I had a 32 oz growler to split with a friend, as the qualities of the beer changed throughout the tasting.

Pours dark and viscous. At first I was worried that it would be flat because I didn't hear a hiss when I opened it (CC seems to consistently overfill their bottles!), but a decent mocha head did eventually show up.

When cold, you get a lot of apple, some brandy, and some sweet roasty flavors underneath. As it warms the brandy becomes nostril singing and overpowering.

Flavors are all over the place. Very complex. Initially sweet with a hint of apple tartness, then a full caramel and roasted malt flavor. As it warmed there was a bit of unpleasant soy sauce flavor, then after another pour, it became really pleasant again - some brandy sweetness and heat with a roasted malts, a bit of coffee and some licorice. Really interesting and delicious beer. I'm surprised at the variation that I experienced while slowly sipping through it. A bit too sticky and salty. I definitely needed water to help this one.

Mouthfeel was good. Heavy, viscous, sticky. I bet it was better on tap - could have been a little less thick and creamier.

Thanks to bhalter8 for sending this my way. Happy I got to try this one.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 32 oz. growler poured into my new Cigar City tulip. Split with a friend. The growler opens with a nice hiss and a wisp of smoke.

Appearance: Absolute midnight black in color. Ranks up there with any stout in how completely black it is. First pour yielded a nice one finger, dark brown (almost black) head.

Aroma: Ripe and tart apple notes are very strong here. Definitely a bit of edge from the brandy as well. The brandy notes are really strong here. There is a touch of the Marshall Zhukov caramel, dark chocolate, and leather notes underneath, but the brandy is definitely the star here.

Taste: Sweet apple and brandy notes are the first bursts of flavor to my hit my tongue. The stout characteristics are much stronger here than in the aroma. Bitter chocoalte, caramel, and espresso notes come through in the middle. An earthy, leathery flavor rounds this out nicely. The booze is very present here though and I think it definitely detracts a little as this could be smoother. This is a sipper for sure.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and really creamy. Carbonation certainly isn't too high, but I don't find it distractingly low or even as low as it was in the original Marshall Zhukov's.

Overall, a really enjoyable and interesting stout. The apple brandy characteristics really shine through, especially in the aroma. The flavors really do compliment each other well. Definitely something I would try again.

Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nick3 shared this fine tick. Thanks!

Appearance: The pour is pitch black, and in the glass it's incredibly viscous and completely opaque. The head is dark brown and quickly recedes to a collar. Slick oily residue clings to the glass when the beer is swirled.

Smell: the nose has an absolutely massive apple brandy character, to the point where it's hard to pick up the base beer. Sweet red apple and caramelized sugar completely overwhelm the dark malt base of Zhukov, but it's really enjoyable in a one-dimensional way.

Taste/mouthfeel: Sweet apple brandy is again dominant, but Zhukov's comes through a bit more than it does on the nose. Ripe red apple, chocolate, black licorice, caramel and molasses hit the tongue in waves. The body is incredibly thick, carbonation low. Mildly boozy and tannic in the finish, and surprisingly dry given the initial sweetness. The barrel character is so strong that there isn't much left beyond it, but it's enjoyable for exactly that reason. Unique stuff.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to urbancaver for sharing this beer! This is one of the 4 x Zhukov's poured last night. 32 oz growler freshly flown in from the source in Florida!

Pours nearly black with a nice ring of halo - dark brown to reddish hue.

Smells of great, fresh apples first and foremost. Very nice, like fresh apples. I can't get over how nice the nose is on this one.

The apple carries over into the flavor. Very interesting, indeed. It's like an apple Imperial stout! Mouth feel is VERY heavy and coating.

VERY unique!

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours black with a foamy coffee colored head that sits pretty on top of the brew.

S. Smells of beautiful apple brandy with chocolate.

T. Chocolate with lots of apple brandy.

M. Tons of body with a thick mouth coating feel.

D. This one grew on me. I liked it quite a lot by the end of the glass.

Photo of mistakebythelake
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz growler shared by Urbancaver with some other Cincinnati BA's.

Poured a black brown with very litlle head and tiny bubbles on the outside of the glass. Wow this smelled of red apples and almost replicated Lairds Apple Brandy smell. Tastes of smokiness and dry brandy with some other fruits as well. Very very thick mouthfeel and dry on the back palate. Different then all the other treatments that were opened and as this warmed up I started to like it a bit more.

Photo of Urbancaver
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and thick with a bit of dark brown head. More notes from the comparison:

The Brandy was very hit or miss among our group. Everyone agreed that the nose was phenomenal. Put next to the Laird's Apple Brandy there is a ton of apple and oak on the nose. However, the taste is interesting... a bit unbalanced in most of our opinion an a little unusual but super tasty none the less.

Photo of brew3crew
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark like motor oil with no head whatsoever
S-incredible apple smell. Literally smells like fresh apples
T-definetly brandy but very subtleapples
M-finish smooth with a little brandy aftertaste
O-solid brew. Would I seek it out again? No but great to have right now

Photo of mondegreen
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased (by me) at Hunahpu's release 2011 in Tampa. Brought back to Athens to share with 3 friends.

Pours dark and thick. A few bubbles rise, but nothing I would call a head. Not a glimpse of light comes through this one.

Nose is all apples. Amazing that such a huge and heavy beer can replicate the smell of fresh apples.

Taste has a big brandy component, but is also very sweet and a touch hot. Still, a phenomenal brew.

Just like every other incarnation of Marshall Z, this beer is thick and syrupy.

Great, great beer. I'm glad to have enjoyed it, both at the brewery and at home from te growled.

Photo of jrallen34
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Hunahpu release... A midnight black body, no differences noted than the other variants. A dark tan head, not much retention, a little streaky lace... The nose on this is pretty outstanding. The Laird Apply Brandy shows off strongly, very sweet, dark fruits, a little wood. A touch hot but I like it... The taste is again dominated by the apple brandy, so much so that a lot of the base beer is gone. However, in the middle of the taste is an almost perfect apple brandy note which you get the liquor as a beer, so complex right there. However, the rest of the sip is a lot of alcohol.

I like this a lot, slightly less than the 4 Roses, still very good.

Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at 2nd Annual Hunahpu's Release.

A - Pours back, small tan head which dissipates to some film on top and some spotty lacing along the sides. Not much trace left of the head and it's basically a black hole in a glass.

S - Huge Laird's Apple Brandy right up front. Way more then the Laird's Hunahpu's that I've previously ticked. The Brandy really overpowers the base beer. Some chocolate and oak notes, but man, the alcohol is very evident here.

T - Once again, a huge Laird's Apple Brady bomb with some Zhukov follow behind. I think this one was a little too hot up front for me to really enjoy as much as the 4 Roses version.

M - Full, rich and thick, light carbonation (if any), creamy/oak finish.

D - This one was a little to hot for me, although others around me appreciated the Apple Brandy notes more then I did. I liked it, jus did love it. Would try again...I mean, will. Growler on the way!

Photo of CGMLS3
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at at Hunahpu day 2011.

A: Black! Similar the other Zhukov's. Small, dark brown head, that fades rather quickly.

S: Big notes of whiskey, vanilla and apple, with some coffee and chocolate. Wow was the first impression!

T: You get hit with the roasted malt, coffee then a hint of chocolate. Finishes with a hint of vanilla, apple and bourbon.

M: Thick, heavy body. Good carbonation.

Overall impression: Had this along with the 4 Roses Zhurkov at Hunahpu Day. This is definitely a good BA of a great imperial stout.

Photo of shand
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Hunahpu's Day 2011.

Pours a jet black with a nice deep, thick head that retaines amazingly all the way through the sample. Looks awesome. The smell is some smooth chocolate, apple Jolly Ranchers (in a good way), a bit of coffee and vanilla, and some roastiness. The taste was very good! Plenty of green apple and vanilla from the barrel aging process, and some very substantial chocolate. Roastiness is a little more subdued, but still a huge part of this beer's character. A great choice of barrel to age this on.

The mouthfeel is amazing, it's super thick and very creamy for a barrel aged beer. I savored every sip. The drinkability is surprisingly good for the ABV and thickness, my pour didn't last very long. Ah, what a day Hunahpu's Day was! I may not have gone nuts on the endless arrays of tantalizing taps because I had to unfortunately drive home after getting my bottles, but any day I have four A+ brews in a row is a good day for me.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the Hunahpu's release.

Pours near black with a thin mocha head. Quickly dissipates. The aroma is super strong and nicely complex. Great aromas of boozy brandy, chocolate, oak, vanilla, dark roasted malts, caramel, and dark fruits. The taste is very, very good as well but doesn't retain as much complexity as the nose and falls a bit with some excess booze. The full is thick and heavy and not horribly boozy. Drinks very well; I preferred this to the bourbon version.

Photo of mikey711
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black with a deep mocha colored head that is almost an inch thick. It held pretty well for a growler pour and leaves nice lacing.

S: Big chocolate notes with hints of coffee and roastiness in the background. also the barrel is quite present bringing some vanilla notes and some green apple notes as well.

T: The barrel is very present bringing out notes of caramel and green apple with some vanilla. tons of chocolate and some woodiness as well. A slightly roasted bitterness and a nice booze like presence with a lingering bitter chocolate note.

M: Rich and creamy. incredibly smooth with no real heat present or chalkiness. the abv is hardly detectable, exactly what i am looking for in a stout

D: this is one outstanding stout that I am extremely happy to have gotten to try. i would not hesitate to try this one age if given the chance

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

I had this on tap at the Cigar City taproom. This was dark brown/black, completely opaque, with very little head (probably due to the 11.5% ABV). Initially sweet, after the first whiff I can tell that the beer has strong brandy notes. Reminds me of several great barrel aged beer aromas (OADL, 110K+OT I tried at 2009 DLD).

The beer was delicious and a little less boozy than expected, sweet and rich, roasted malts and a little smoke. Thicker than your usual barrel aged beer, I'd love to try the standard Marshal Zhukov's sometime to see how thick it is. Creamy and mouthcoating, lovely.

This was hands down the best beer I tried at CC, better than Hunahpu's (also on tap), just an extremely well made beer aged to what seemed like perfection in a brandy barrel. Also, one of the best names for an RIS that I've heard, nearly as good a name as Old Rasputin.

Photo of Gtreid
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Special tap at CCB for Craft beer week. Poured into a snifter.

A: Black as night. The pour dropped a nickel size dark brown head that faded pretty quickly, left very little lace, but vigourously reappears when swirlled.

A: Big roasted malt, chocolate, earthy hops, and big brandy notes. Notes of vanilla, grass, oak, and toffee. As the brew warms I also get a hefty dose of alcohol.

T: Much of the same. Huge roasted malt and chocolate. The brandy plays very well with the Zuchovs. Tasty notes of vanilla, and toffee, with slight coffee and earth.

M: Thick and viscous. Heavy body, low levels of carbonation.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is ok. Overall, this one gets a little boozy as it warms, but don't get me wrong, this is one fine brew. The brandy barrels do wonders for the CCB stouts. And although this one isn't as good as the BA Hunahpu, it still is right up there. Skal.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

G - Cigar City snifter

A - Evil crude with a nearly black head that lasts forever. The look of this brew is only rivaled by Hunahpu; it is the most ridiculous, sinister and striking brew you could ever see.

S - Ridiculously decadent. Strong everything: booze, coffee, cocoa, wood, vanilla. It smells ominous or dangerous, which it is.

T - This delicious barrel treatment of the Marshal Zhukov RIS is just ridiculous beyond description. The base brew is really enhanced, revealing serious layers of added complexity. Boozy, of course, but not crass; the heavy impressions are subdued and as a result the flavor is more focused on very light and delicate flavors such as suggestions of sweet Fuji apples and crème Brulee. The heavy stuff is also there, the bitter cocoa, the espresso and chicory, the tobacco and charred wood, but it is so beautifully tempered by the barrel treatment. Outstanding.

M - The ultimate in viscosity. This stuff will stain your teeth, it is so intense.

D - If you are even in a position to question its drinkability, then you are in the right place my friend.

Photo of corby112
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chcolate brown color with lighter golden brown edges and a two finger head that slowly fades into a lasting cap that leaves sporadc lacing.

Sweet brandy aroma with light fruit notes, alcohol and leathery malt. Hints of toffee, caramel, leather and dark fruit, especially raisin, plum, date and fig.

Slightly chewy medium body with tight carbonation and slight oxidization.  Lots of earthy leathery malt with caramel, toffee, nut, dark fruit notes and slight alcohol wamth.  Slightly spicy and buttery with a slight dry finish.  Sweet but alcohol is relatively well masked.    

Photo of Maltzilla
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this fantastic treat at the Hunahpu's Release Party (CCB). The aroma was nice and mellow but very full . . . lot of subtleties. Noticed vanilla, dark fruit, some alcohol and butterscotch right up front on the nose. Upon tasting, a lot of these aromas were confirmed, specially got the vanilla (more so, IMO, than in the bourbon version) right up front. Also got some oak and the heat from the alcohol intensified a bit , but did not overpower or undermine the flavor. This is the perfect beer to sip with a good cigar on a cool evening.

Photo of Mora2000
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a brown head. The aroma is oak with some roasted malt, soy sauce and chocolate. The flavor is oak, smoke, chocolate and soy. Oily, thick mouthfeel and low carbonation. Really happy I got to try this beer.

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.