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Ursus Spelæus - Sound Brewery

Ursus SpelæusUrsus Spelæus

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

63 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 6.54%


Brewed by:
Sound Brewery visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 01-22-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 23 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of nice liquorice notes with some light fruity notes which mix well with some light black chocolates notes. Taste is also dominated by some liquorice notes which are well-balanced by some black chocolate notes with some light roasted malt with some light fruity notes also noticeable. Body is semi-full for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I really enjoyed the liquorice notes and the creamy texture of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 03:05:38 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into tulip 31/12/13

A looks fairly black with a deep cola edge, lots of tiny bubbles go up the side when you tilt the glass, a large, dense mocha foam has good retention but doesn't leave any lace until the head fell to a thin film

S burnt toffee, licorice root, candied dark fruit, root beer, coco comes out strong, has some Belgian flair with a little spicy yeast and brewers candy

T some bakers chocolate and more licorice then I smell, a little char but other then that it mimics the smell and the booze is well concealed but I preferred the nose

M medium full, somewhat silky upon entry and it stops short of creamy, a little slimy after the fact with chocolate and sour plum on the finish

O a fair bit going on and overall a solid brew, I haven't had to many Belgian stouts but I like what their doing here, everything works well together

I liked this one but for 11$ a bomber its a little steep, nothing to put in into the big leagues but well worth a try

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 05:50:33 | More by wordemupg
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New to BC , this is a super solid American stout with a nod to Belgian though don't expect lots of Belgian yeast notes or other indications of the Belgium style. This is a very rounded and big stout with a lovely long finish almost on the sweet side. Lots of chocolate and an almost milk stout feel to the beer. Impressed by a brewery I was not aware of until now.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 18:27:02 | More by canucklehead
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The pour starts off an extremely dark brown, but by the time the snifter is half full, it's turned completely black. There's a faint head for a bit, but it's quickly gone. While it lasts it a nice shade of brown. Has a viscous look. If the head made a better showing, it would be a 5.

Early on it reminds me of a Belgian dark ale with an initial blast of dark, ripe fruits. Eventually, all the scents meld together and they get harder to pick out individually. Chocolate and licorice start to evolve as the smell of the fruits intensify.

For some reason the taste doesn't quite match the smell. The same tastes are there, but they don't work in harmony like in the nose. It's a bit more chocolately on the tongue than in the nose and the fruits are kind of in the way. While not a bad tasting beer, something isn't quite right to me. As it warms, the taste of the alcohol grows more prevalent.

A bit thinner than you'd guess...again, I think it's the fruit that's out of place. A bit of sweetness dances with tangy notes from the fruits before bitterness grabs the taste buds leading to a warming, slightly bitter, boozy finish. A bit of carbonation might liven things up. It's anything but light bodied, but I wouldn't call it heavy or full bodied. That's another place where it just misses the target.

Overall, it's an easy beer to drink and despite the warming feeling, the high alcohol is very well masked. In looking at the bottle, I had the beer a little cooler than suggested. The warming brings the chocolate to life, but none of the scores change.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 04:01:55 | More by RickS95
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours an indigo color with a rather modest head that grows wispy with alacrity and fades to a ringlet though it leaves wisps of lacing; when a brewery calls their beer a Belgian stout, however, I am expecting it to look like a Belgian, so I have deducted .5 points

Smell: Chocolate, chalk, roasted meat, charred toast and coffee

Taste: Chocolate and lactose, up front, with toast, red licorice and a hint of coffee developing, in the middle; the flavors up front, blend nicely together in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I am flummoxed a bit with how to rate this beer; I don't think it measures up as a Belgian stout as it lacks the yeasty complexity and the appropriate look/mouthfeel; on the other hand, I really like the way it tastes and would rate it higher as an American Double Stout or as an Imperial Milk Stout

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2013 01:40:26 | More by brentk56
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a small fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, raisin, banana, toast, molasses, light char, clove, pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, toast, molasses, raisin, banana, clove, pepper, light char, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Slight roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, toast, molasses, raisin, banana, clove, pepper, light char, and roasted/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt and fruity/spicy yeast flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, moderately slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian imperial stout! All around great complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 05:49:12 | More by superspak
Photo of woemad
woemad

Washington

3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From notes

22oz bomber purchased at Total Wine on the northside of Spokane. No freshness date, though the label had a space for one.

Poured a viscous-looking shade of broen that looked virtually black, even when held up to light. Thin, mocha colored head was rather short-lived, leaving spotty lace on the sides of a St. Bernardus goblet.

The nose was primarily of chocolate and toffee. Not too complex.

The taste was more interesting. Dark chocolate first hit that tastebuds with a subordinate amount of coffee-like bitterness. Spicy Belgian yeast notes were detected, but they were far in the background.

Full bodied, with a level of carbonation that seemed a little low. Rich, coating mouthfeel.

This was pretty good without being great. I've had better RIS, and I've had better beers purporting to be Belgian stouts. Still this was more than drinkable, and a big improvement over the last time I had a bottle from Sound Brewing. For the right price, I'd drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 03:42:18 | More by woemad
Photo of deschutes_fan
deschutes_fan

Idaho

4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

- Pours thick and dark with a small layer of tan foam

- Nice smell of roasty dark chocolate and cherries.

- Very pleasant taste, bitter dark chocolate mixed with black cherries and roasted malt. Clean and not very BIG compared with other RIS. Medium body.

- Overall, a tasty, smooth RIS with nice cherry flavor. Not very complex (not BA), but it does hide the 10% ABV quite well. Solid offering here, but certainly not the best in a very competitive RIS category.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 04:06:29 | More by deschutes_fan
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

3.59/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured at a good temperature with an average size, tan, foamy head and some lace. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is quite mild with some cocoa and coffee. Flavor's a vinous, Belgian, like nose, bit more sweet than bitter, hint of tang. Body and carbonation are good. Finish is like flavor, long, no sign of alcohol. Decent enough but I don't find much special.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2013 01:10:46 | More by drpimento
Photo of draheim
draheim

Washington

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a rich opaque black w/ a 1-finger mocha head that settles to a narrow band.

Aroma is big chocolate and espresso, bitter roasted malt, cocoa. As it warms, dark fruit overtakes the chocolate and coffee.

Taste follows nose. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, chewy dark fruits, earthy roasted nuts.

Mouthfeel is thick, full-bodied but not sticky or syrupy. Good carbonation, finishes semi-dry.

Overall a highly enjoyable, rock-solid imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2013 04:14:03 | More by draheim
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, 8.5% ABV, and dubbed a 'Belgian Style Imperial Stout'.

This beer pours a solid black, with prominent cola highlights, and nothing but a thin film of flaccid bubbly beige head, which bleeds away before my eyes, leaving a low landfall pattern of lakeshore lace around the glass.

It smells of chalky dark cocoa, lightly toasted caramel malt, thin toffee crisps, black licorice nibs, a very subtle dry yeastiness, and herbal grassy hops. The taste is semi-sweet chocolate, softly caramelized toffee, rather rich anise drops, ethereal zingy yeast, and earthy, leafy hops. A hint of warming alcohol permeates as it warms.

The bubbles are fairly low-key, but still capable in their support role, the body a sturdy medium weight, and really quite smooth, with a mild touch of creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, the cocoa, licorice, and caramel malt all lazily colluding to push out any lingering Belgian-inspired yeast, or alcohol edge, for that matter.

As Belgian Stout is not yet a style on this site, it falls that this must be shoehorned in elsewhere. However, that seems patently unnecessary here, as this comes across as mostly just a lighter (in all manner save ABV) version of a Yankee Imperial stout, sexed up with licorice. Worthy of a try, even at around 10 bucks a bomber.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2013 05:44:45 | More by biboergosum
Photo of blackie
blackie

Virginia

4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

drat at uber tavern

a: had no idea what to even think of/call this at the bar, served in a stubby snifter glass, ursus is deeply brown, opaque in color, with a short mocha head

s: loaded with dark fruits and caramelized sugars, strikingly complex from the start, notes of molasses, chocolate and char hint at the “ris” but it’s really much more, flashes of belgian yeast, plum and raisin, mildly hopped

m: thick, rich mouthfeel with a carbonation to the higher side of the moderate range

t: loaded with dark tree fruits and complimented with roasted barley, hints of cocoa, a touch of smoke, and a belgian yeast profile giving some interesting spice notes, maybe a touch of coffee, nicely bitter to finish with lots of lingering flavor

o: a unique an interesting style combination that completely impresses, quality stuff

4/45/45/45/45

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2013 03:55:16 | More by blackie
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 1.613.

A - Pours a motor oil dark brown with a few small dark brown bubbles.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and some sweet fruits.

T - Nice bitter coffee and chocolate mix and again some sweet dark fruit.

D - Low carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Very nice stout with a surprising fruit kick that is nice.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 06:10:50 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 picked up today at Home Brew Stuff in Garden City for a sorta pricey $10... Poured into my slim tulip and a thin brown head rises quickly and leaves nearly as fast. The brew is black.

The nose is rich dark fruits that mesh perfectly with dark malt and some lesser Belgian character.. "boozy raisinettes", does that sound interesting? It is in this beer. Some anise and possibly some clovey phenols.

Flavor does not disappoint.. thick and rich... cocoa, milk chocolate, a lot of golden raisins, lingering dark fruits... A bit of char/light smoke brings things back mid palate and lingers forever...

Body is thick and inviting... velvety.. carbonation is on the light side.. surprisingly there is very little alcohol... This is very well done.. Just hints of yeasty Belgian notes that I honestly believe could be bloomed a bit more..

I am amazed how much I like this one... As far as I can tell Home Brew Stuff is the only store that got this one in.. but Boise stores should pick this one up... so should Boise peeps. Really good... No Shit.

3.5/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.25

Not nearly as good as the best RIS out there, but certainly better than ANY Belgian Imperial Stout that I have had before... I am very.. VERY impressed.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 07:22:23 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus

Washington

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter

Pours like a normal imperial stout. Pitch black, still, with a tiny brownish head clinging to the glass like a crown. Smell is spicy, roasty, coffee and chocolate and very nutty, with yeast and licorice as a kicker.

Taste is initially very sweet, with a quick burnt bitterness, a yeasty tang, with a slightly sour memory. Something about it reminds me of maple. Still more of that odd yeasty spiciness (I attribute to the Belgian nature). It's good, but it's a bit sweet.

Mouthfeel is sticky and thick. Very chewy. Overall, this is a very good beer, and a good Christmas present from my brother in law.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 04:48:14 | More by snaotheus
Photo of trxxpaxxs
trxxpaxxs

New York

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks libbey!

A: Pours a pitch black with no light shining through. There is a quarter finger of dark tan head that settles quickly and leaves a thin ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. It's sticky and syrupy, and has serious legs. This beer looks great.

S: The nose is mainly raisin, with a big chocolate presence and a tad bit of Belgian funk and booze. I usually like my stouts with more burnt toast and bitters, but it smells good.

T: Mmm. This beer is sweet and syrupy with notes the raisin and dark chocolate hitting hard in the in the front. The middle turns towards more milk chocolate and burnt toast. I'm digging it. The finish is back to sweet and syrupy, but the raisin notes fade away. Really nice. The Belgian influences are mild and it makes me glad that they didn't overdue it.

M: Full bodied beer. Sweet, syrupy, cloying, milky, thick and smooth. Really solid.

O: This is a solid beer. I had my doubts with the Belgian Stout label on it. But this beer is just right. It's like candy cigarettes, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, raisin, and burnt toast. Would love to drink again.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 00:04:24 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of sukwonee
sukwonee

Washington

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with reddish tint, half a finger mocha head.

S: Milk chocolate (I think they added lactose sugar), some funky aroma, some roasted malt.

T: Yep definitely lactose sugar. It almost tastes like a milk/sweet stout. I can taste some hops towards the end, but it's not overpowering. Chocolate, malt, lactose sugar, some dark fruits coming through. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M: It's not super thick for the style, but it's thick. It's not super syrupy but it's syrupy.

O: This brew is quite solid. To me, it tastes like a robust sweeet stout, rather than a Russian imperial stout, but still it's quite delicious. Belgian yeast can be noted in the nose and taste, which sort of adds uniqueness (not really).

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 04:26:09 | More by sukwonee
Photo of DaveAnderson
DaveAnderson

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A vigorous pour into a Darkness tulip reveals an oily dark liquid, and yields a tall, but thin head, which recedes quickly and leaves little lacing.

S: What an unusual smell. It's unlike any Imperial stout I have had before. I don't even know how to describe it. There might be some chocolate in there, and maybe some black licorice. I am at a loss for descriptors.

T: The taste is much more familiar. It has the usual Imperial Stout characteristics, with above-average hop presence and below-average sweetness.

M: This is a very thin Imperial Stout, which makes it seem really light. The alcohol is well-masked. I don't know whether the thin body is an asset or a flaw. It's very drinkable, but I kind of want something richer.

O: I don't know if I have ever had a Belgian Imperial Stout before. This is interesting and drinkable, but in the end, I find it slightly challenging, and lacking harmony.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 04:47:13 | More by DaveAnderson
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4DAloveofSTOUT

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for sending me this beer! Thanks Hollis!

poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 2 fingers worth of medium tan colored head. Lacing is pretty nice on this beer as well; stick to side of glass.

Smell: This is a really fruity stout almost like a quad fruity. Black licorice, molasses, chocolate, mild roast and smokiness.

Taste: Smokey and dark fruits. Mild coffee roast that is mildly bitter adding balance to the fruity belgian yeast. A touch of spice mingles with the dark fruits. Really solid!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with carbonation between the middle to high end of moderate. Not a hint of booze for such a big beer. Really nice carbonation thats smooth and lucious. well made beer.

Overall: This is my first beer from Sound Brewery! Really really nice beer. They have impressed me! Its a unique beer that does a solid job in all aspects of this beer. Overall score of 4.5; wanted to bump the taste to a 4.25 score.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 14:42:45 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Short tannish mocha head on a dark brown near black body. Head recedes to a collar.

Purple and red grapes. Slightly metallic? All good though.

Fruits, first and foremost. "Slight smokiness" as it warms. Would put this right at its stated ABV, well hidden booze overall.

Diggin' the mouthfeel, thicker side with carbonation on the high end...it works here when considering the Belgian yeast influence.

Well integrated use of malts and yeast rarely used together. Well done Sound Brewery. Thanks for the new beer try 4DAloveofSTOUT!

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 00:14:12 | More by Duff27
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: totally black hue with a one-finger cap of frothy dark tan foam. Attractive.

Smell: rich, chocolatey and caramelly malt aroma with a distinct oaky character. Not terribly complex but it all comes together rather well.

Taste: several big flavors come together here: a big maltiness with lots of fruit character, either from the Belgian yeast or from the alcohol; there is some cherry, grape and plum here; rich but not dank or dusky. Chocolate comes through from below, but it is not overpowering at all. I like the complexity quite a lot.

Mouthfeel: big body with a smooth, silky texture. Not particularly creamy, but it's a low-carbonation style. I like it.

Overall: a tasty and surprisingly drinkable beer for its ABV. It would be interesting to cellar this for awhile and see how much more Belgian character develops.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2012 23:10:44 | More by flagmantho
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured deep, deep brown with a small light brown cap, not much on lacing and the head was faint but stuck around by way of a small brown ring

S: Lots deep roasted notes, licorice, light smokiness, dark chocolate with some spiciness, booze sting

T: Perhaps some anse, but defeinite light spiciness back with huge roastiness, dark chocolate, licorice.The back end leaves some bitterness, sugar sweetness

M: Well carbonated, tasty, dry feel but yet sticky sweet, warming and big bodied

O: Awesome brew!

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 12:20:01 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours pitch black, thin light brown head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass with slippery lacing. Pleasant RIS aroma of roasted and dark malt, molasses and a hint of Belgian yeast. Flavor follows, dominated by roasted malt but with a lighter fruit and anise element. Finish with a sharp hop bitterness and espresso coffee that lingers on the tongue. Very tasty. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Somewhat light bodied for a RIS, but the flavor is rich and compelling. A very nice stout and my fifth straight excellent beer from this stellar brewery.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2012 03:16:04 | More by LiquidAmber
Ursus Spelæus from Sound Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.