[BANISHED] Tough Love - Crux Fermentation Project

Not Rated.
[BANISHED] Tough Love[BANISHED] Tough Love

Educational use only; do not reuse.

185 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 185
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.74%
Wants: 14
Gots: 31 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Crux Fermentation Project visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: distantmantra on 05-29-2013

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 185 | Reviews: 33
Reviews by charlzm:
Photo of charlzm
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Vurt for the bottle!

Consumed February 8th, 2014 from a corked, capped, waxed bottle. The wax and cap came off easily enough, but the cork wound up in a million crumbs inside the beer when neither of my corkscrews could remove it. Oh, and I splashed beer all over the counter and broke off part of the neck. Lucky I didn't get cut. Most of the contents made it into a snifter at about 60 degrees F. It started off cooler, but by the time I actually got the beverage into the glass, well... it had warmed up.

Anyway, beer pours black with a one-finger deep tan head. I didn't get to enjoy the head as I has a spoon, scooping cork fragments out of it. The head had dissipated by the time I got enough cork out to begin drinking.

Dark chocolate malt aroma. Some vanilla as well. Dashes of alcohol and dates/prunes.

Flavor is intensely bitter chocolate. A little vanilla. Cocoa. For the hard work required to actually get to the liquid, I was unimpressed.

Mouthfeel is a little thick and smooth, but this body is thinner than one would expect. Of course, it does have the occasional cork nugget to make things more exciting. Alcohol heat is pretty noticeable.

Overall, there are no real flaws (save for the packaging) but neither is there anything exciting going on here. For all the special ingredients listed (rye, wheat, bourbon barrels, etc...) there is not a whole lot of evidence of such on the palate.

More User Reviews:
Photo of alcstradamus
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Who cares? Looks fine. Small head quickly dissolving. Lots of carbonation bubbles for such a big beer.

Smell - Chocolate covered cherries, raisin, molasses, slight bourbon booziness,....really smells complex and phenomenal. Reminds me of Lost Abbey Angel's Share in the aroma

Taste - First sip at above-cellar temperatures appears a bit less complex than the aroma, but it is a tough act to follow. Lots of raisin sweetness on top of the bourbon booziness. I do pick up some fruitiness as it warms. A bit of brown sugar perhaps? The complexity is there, but the balance is actually what is most impressive about it.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied and sufficiently carbonated. Usually beers this full bodied feel creamier to me which I actually prefer, but I can't complain too much about a sufficiently carbonated 12% beer. It isn't an easy feat.

Overall - People who know me know that I am incredibly cynical nowadays about craft beer. I have had too many 'great' ones to be impressed anymore....but this did impress me. Imagine a properly carbonated but slightly less tasty Angel's Share. I would keep this stocked in my fridge if I had the chance.

Photo of distantmantra
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with red rings around the edge. Nice tan of head foam is retained on the top.

S: Notes of red wine, coffee and bourbon are apparent.

T: The coffee and some vinuous touches are very forward, with a bit of bourbon lingering in the background.

M: Thick and full-bodied but not overpowering.

O: Great first barrel-aged brew from the guys at Crux. Interested to see what these bottles do in another six months or so.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Very thick and dark. Stains the glass. Nice. Not much by way of a head.

Smell - Very nice bourbon. Vanilla. The oak is the best part though. Rich dark chocolate. Slight smoke.

Taste - Less intense on the bourbon. Rich chocolate. Oak is strong. A little too strong. The bottle says spices and I can see that if it's true. Licorice and some red wine notes in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and rich. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Complex. Better aroma than taste, but not by much.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Reuben's Brew small snifter. Cellared for about a year. A bit disappointed to open the bottle to absolutely no 'pop', then relieved to see that his was corked as well as capped. Nice pop from the cork. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass, with a fine,thin hot cocoa colored head with great retention and lacing. Enticing aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate, oaky vanilla and bourbon. Flavor is dark toasted malt, slightly sweet, bourbon, light oak and vanilla, mild chocolate, finishing with sweet toasted malt and chocolate liqueur. Somewhat thin bodied for a RIS, but still adequate. A light bodied, but full flavored barrelled Russian imperial stout.Plenty of bourbon, but does not overwhelm the substantial malt body. Good oaky vanilla notes. I like the presentation of the Crux bottles and they seem to be following up classy packaging with well made beers. This was an expensive small bottle, but fufilled its promise.

Photo of deschutes_fan
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

375mL Bottle dated Jun '13 with purple wax, capped and corked (really?)

- Pours a deep brown/black with 1/2" of tan foam. No lacing.

- Smells of roasty malt, bourbon, and oak. Maybe some faint stone fruit notes.

- Good toffee and charred bourbon taste to start with some nice roasty bitterness and some lactose sweetness. Oaky dryness on the finish. Mouthfeel is quite thin and watery for the style, a major downside. Also the rich flavors fade quickly with an unpleasant lactose sweetness that lingers.

- Overall, this is a decent attempt with some good flavors, but also some flaws.
The thin body is almost a deal breaker on its own. The lingering lactose is not my favorite either.On the other hand, the initial flavors are well balanced and pleasant.

At a cost of $13/bottle, this is more per ounce than all the top dogs of the style (BCBS, Black Note, Parabola, Abyss). Combined with the pretentious waxed/capped/corked combo, Crux needs to rethink this beer and adjust the recipe and price. This should be obvious considering I purchased this bottle almost a year after its release.

Photo of sbauer
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

S: vanilla bourbon and dark fruits
T: cola, dark fruits, dark chocolate, looooong finish

3/8- 2014 bottle brought back from Bend brewery trip, another saved for next year, nose is coffee, caramel, plum, and my dad says Bret, taste is dark fruits, vanilla, and mild tart.

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%

On the drier end of the spectrum with a savory smoke and umami flavor, perhaps a touch of soy sauce. Tannic. The barrel comes through withough imparting any harsh spirit elements ... but some would say that it's too restrained.

This is one for folks that want an earthier, drier, oaky execution.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, dark fruits, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Medium mouthfeel, good carb level. This is quite enjoyable.

Photo of John_M
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Bier Stein the other day.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The beer is every bit as attractive on the nose, as I pick up considerable dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, light coffee, light leather and light tobacco. The flavor profile replcates the nose pretty closely, with the dark chocolate, bourbon and vanilla seeming to dominate the flavor profile. The beer is moderately sweet, but there's enough hoppy bitterness on the finish to dry out the modest sweetness. Mouthfeel is fairly full and soft, and the finish is long with some light bitterness. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile; there's no sense of heat or heaviness on the finish.

Very nice RIS, but I'm not sure it's quite up there with beers like the Abyss and Super Nebula.

Photo of LouZ
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Saved a bottle from our trip to Bend in October. Bottle was corked, and it smelled of barleywine upon opening. Poured pure black with a slight hint of head. Scent is sweet - molasses, caramel. Taste starts sweet and finishes with bitter hops, but balanced throughout. A real treat.

Photo of KariD
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Loved this beer! Deep lush flavors of raisins and bourbon. Rich and dense I can't wait to try one in a few months. Well worth adding to a cellar!

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.18/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 9.21.13

A - Pours a dark opaque brown-black with a dark tan head that fades very slowly.

S - Lots of chocolate, a hint of burnt coffee, and some vanilla.

T - Burnt oats and coffee, bitter and not very enjoyable.

D - Good carbonaation with a heavy body.

O - Bitter and burnt - the nose is nice, but it ends there.

Photo of duluoz
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful beer -- slick and jet black. Nice tannish-brown head on it.

All roasty chocolate in the nose. No real sign of the bourbon or oak.

A bit of sweet molasses upfront and some light spice (probably from the rye), followed by a big wave of dark, bitter chocolate. The bourbon is subtle and in the background, just where I like it to be. Not picking up a ton of oak. A little bit of booze on the finish, but I wouldn't call it hot. Some time is going to help it for sure, though.

Great mouthfeel -- not overly thick and syrupy like some in this class can be. Nice carbonation keeps it from feeling overly viscous.

Great beer. With some time on it, look out.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a rich black color with a one finger mocha colored head. Substantial looking body and some spotty lacing down the glass with each sip.

S: Bourbon, raisin cake and a ton of wet wood. Almost like smelling the floor of a barrel room. Smells pretty great.

T: Creamy mocha and dark roasted coffee with a black licorice/molasses edge and some spicy bourbon on the finish. Some brownie batter, milk chocolate and almost chocolate milkshake-like sweetness but never so much that the beer gets overly sweet. The slight heat and spicy edge of the bourbon keep things nicely in check. Medium and slick body that's light enough to keep the taste from dragging. This is pretty awesome.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

375 ml graciously shared by Duane. Big thanks buddy!

Egregiously stubborn cork yields the innerds of this bottle. Pours an inky black with little retention.

Smells of smoked woody char and some dark fruits. Not overly vivacious and a bit young maybe.

Very tannic, vinous, and raw. Bourbon is a touch hot and not fully integràted. Lots of smoked maltiness, dark fruit, and a truck load of wood on the finish.

I'd sit on this a bit, but love the opportunity!

Photo of brentk56
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 6/7/13

Appearance: A jet black pour, capped modestly by a tan head that grows rocky but does a nice job with the lacing

Smell: Chocolate, dark fruit and Bourbon with hints of vanilla, mushroom and smoke

Taste: Chocolate covered cherries and vanilla, up front, with growing Bourbon tones; earthy mushroom and smoke tones; increasingly roasty, after the swallow, with some earthy hops and molasses in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A little thin in the mouthfeel, but that is a minor quibble in what is a really interesting beer; A lot going on in this beer and, with all the variations on the style out there, they have managed to come up with a unique angle

Thanks, snakeey11, for the opportunity

Photo of mabermud
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Beautiful. Super fine mocha head. Deep, dark body. Fine film over the top. Substantial halo. With a twirl of the glass, there is a very attractive, fine curtain of silky looking foam, melting from the sides of glass.
Smell: The aroma reminds me of Expedition Stout, only better...richer...deeper. The aroma is sweet, dark, and deep. A balance of vanilla, dark-sweet roast, deep-dark chocolate, bourbon, and some wood.
Taste: All of the above, molded into a superb concoction + sweet, dark fruit. A touch of sour oak and wood at the finish. Clean finish.
Feel: Nice thickness. Nice, dense carbonation near the end. Silky in the mouth.

Overall: This is a top quality RIS. If this was made in the the Midwest or East Coast, the score would be in the high 90s...or 100. This beer needs more exposure to the masses, West of the Mississippi. This is good.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle/2014. Pours in a thick, syrupy fashion. Dark! Slick! Thin tan head! The aroma is complex, clearly...but the bourbon treatment is very overpowering. Boozy, bourbony first and foremost. Then I get thick chocolate, dark fruit, roast and even some Port wine. The flavor is more impressive. The heat and barrel take equal steps backward. It tastes like fig-bourbon-chocolate cake. Fudge, chocolate syrup, cola, roasted coffee, plum, fig, barreled dessert wine. Quite complex. The body is goddamn thick. Syrup. Mild carbonation. Lasting flavor and feel. A huge beer, a fun beer, a bold beer.

Photo of maximum12
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to HuskyinPDX for this miniature bottle. Purple wax, capped & corked for some mysterious reason, 375ML bottle poured in my regal, leftover-found Orval glass.

No pop when the cap comes off, likewise with the cork: all quiet on the RIS front. However, the nose reaches me about the same time the lack of pop does. Which travels faster, sound or smell? Big bourbon notes wash out while I'm pouring, a boozy assault that travels a lot quicker & further than most barrel-aged Russians. Nose is charred chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Very nice.

Tough Love leads with the nose but goes in a fruitier direction on the tongue. Belying the wonderful nose, this is chock full of rapid-fire fruit - plums or some close relative. Underneath the barrel remains strong, with bourbon & contributing vanilla. Roast sneaks back in the middle along with a rabid alcoholic bite, & my belly temp begins to rise. Finish is strangely sharp, bitter fruitiness; hmph. Very thick, enough to slow my normal glacial drinking pace.

Not sure what to think of this one. It has everything but the World Series ring to prove it belongs with the big boys, but the fruitiness is distracting & detracting. Very good, but on the crux of greatness.

Photo of drpimento
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, for being an almost still very strong beer like this, it's actually very drinkable; quite a good brew. Barely a head, so barely any carbonation or carbonic tang. But what is there really does work well and balances in a masterly way the rich characteristics of the very thick sweet components. I pick zero off flavors, even into the finish which in my experience, especially for this kind of beer, is rare. I can drink this stuff - and get sloshed. Really good beer.

Photo of Floydster
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7 ounce bottle

Appearance is pitch black, 2 inches of light brown head, good retention, nice lacing for a barrel aged beer

Smell is molasses, oak, vanilla, fresh roasted coffee, dark cocoa, maple, burnt wheat, and bourbon

Taste starts off with espresso and roasted malts, sweet vanilla in the middle, oak and bourbon in the finish, molasses comes out in a great way as it warms, lots of sweetness mixed with roasty flavors, nice balance

Mouthfeel is full bodied, a little on the boozy side, soft carbonation, warming

Overall this is an outstanding barrel aged stout, been a big fan of most things I have tasted from this brewery and this is probably their best yet

Photo of Axnjxn
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375ml purple waxed and corked bottle (yes waxed AND corked) into a teku glass.

Thick wax is hard to cut through, cork was deep but got it out without a problem. pours a thick dark black with a slight dark brown head. Smell of bourbon and vanilla... very nice. taste is damn incredible. its just so incredibly smooth. raisins, chocolate, roast, slight vanilla, bourbon on the finish for balance. GREAT! mouthfeel is just perfect. so so smooth and creamy yet thick at the same time. carbonation is perfect as well.

overall i need more of this ASAP. so damn good.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

375ml waxed and corked bottle bought from an online store. Man, that is one super stubborn cork; it took me a few minutes to finally pull it out.

A- a small pop when the cork got the hell out of Dodge, it pours a pitch black with about an inch of tan foam with good lacing.

S- big roasted malt, bourbon, coffee, a bit of dark fruit.

T- roasted malt and bourbon up front, light coffee, and then it gets very sweet and hot. Every bit of the 11.5% is there! I get hints of dark fruits like raisins & plums from time to time and the bourbon seems to grow with every sip. There is some light bitterness here but the sweet notes dominate.

M- full bodied, light carbonation, the mouthfeel is fine.

O- I reckon some cellaring would calm things down but as is, it's tasty but hot and a very slow drinker. I like it.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375ml bottle $13.99, not cheap. Dark black, almost no head. Aroma is barrel, dark cherry, booze, pretty good. Flavor is cherry, bourbon barrel, malts, pretty nice. My only complaint is that this just doesn't seem to have the same consistency of my favorite barrel aged stouts which are a little thicker and have legs. A very good beer but at this price point for the size I won't be revisiting.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
[BANISHED] Tough Love from Crux Fermentation Project
93 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.