Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series)Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

124 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 124
Hads: 258
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 11.94%
Wants: 34
Gots: 70 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ArrogantB on 09-03-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Alaskan Perseverance Ale is a Russian Imperial Stout. This style was chosen to celebrate our 25th anniversary of brewing on the Last Frontier in our coastal home of Juneau, Alaska.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series) Alström Bros
Reviews: 124 | Hads: 258
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9% ABV. I had the priviledge to try this brew poured into a pint glass during a ski trip in Vancouver. This complex and malt forward Imperial Stout is brewed with an array of local ingredients and flavors to add dimension and celebrate Alaskan’s history and home. Alaska birch syrup from Wasilla lends a deep, almost tart character to the dark malt profile, while fireweed honey from Delta Junction adds a delicate sweetness and floral notes to the aroma and finish. The slight addition of their in-house alder-smoked malt alludes to the distinctive roasted flavor of turn-of-the-century malting practices, without overpowering the more subtle flavors of this dynamic anniversary brew. This limited edition Imperial Stout is brewed with glacier-fed water, birch syrup from the Alaska Birch Syrup Co., fireweed honey from Alaskan Bee Apiaries, brown sugar and an array of different malts including malted oats and a dash of their world famous alder-smoked malt. Sure glad to have tried this one out – it was almost as if I was drinking a mix of all their flagship beers especially the Smoked Porter.

 1,102 characters

Photo of SHODriver
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a deep and thick black with a small tan head
S: smells of rich roast malt, chocolate, coffee, and a little bit of licorice
T: sweet honey, a little roast coffee, light chocolate and a huge shot of flavor in the aftertaste with more roasty goodness and some chocolate. maybe a hint of the birch syrup at the back end as well
M:surprisingly light considering how thick it seemed to pour, heavier side of medium bodied with a solid amount of carbonation
O: Not the best and not the worst. glad I picked up a bottle. Just wish the front and middle was as fantastic as the back end

 585 characters

3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a darkly toasted color with some densely tannin quasi clarity around the edges. A thin cola head dissipates to a glassy top, lacing be damned.

Smells of cocoa butter, chicory java and a metallic redolence.

Taste is strongly roasted, with oaken and mildly bouronesque notions, and syrupy sweetness. It melds well yet lacks much intrigue. It's a good mix of flavors, a unique approach, but complexity gives way to mundane rather quick.

Mouthfeel is thinner and more carbonated than the slick inkiness I lust for in a RIS.

Overall...it's not bad at all, don't get me wrong. I am enjoying this quite well, but it's a tad thin, a tad bubbly, and a little behind the curve of some other RISs I have come to enjoy. Totally worth while for a drink though. Unique, sure.

 771 characters

Photo of DocJitsu
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a viscous dark brown with a nice looking dark root beer head. The head dissipates slowly to a thin cap leaving laces of dark root beer foam around the glass. Literally no light passes through this beer. Sweet aromas of chocolate syrup, vanilla, and honey. Quite thick, but not necessarily creamy. Vanilla and chocolate up front with some honey notes. Dark roasted coffee on the back of the tongue. Appearance and aroma are a little misleading on taste, but not by a significant amount. Pretty good beer, overall. I would've liked to have paid a lot less than $10 for the bottle though. $5.99 at most.

 606 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
5/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a He'brew pint glass. Pours perfectly black with a one finger fine brown head with nice persistance. Aroma of smoky and dark malt, wood. Extremely smooth and integrated like a milkshake. Roasted and smoky malt, chocolate, caramel, hint of light fruit, light honey. Finishes with a touch of smoke and wood. Creamy and delicious. This is very, very good. Absolutely one of the best stouts I've had. I apparently liked this a lot better than most reviewers, but this is what I'm looking for in a stout, I would not improve on it in any way.

 549 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light chocolate brown head. In the aroma, woody and a small honey note. In the taste, a dry roast, birch wood, and a honey bite. A smooth and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry and small bourbon like aftertaste. A nice roast, with birch and honey, I can dig it!

 304 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle. Served at cellar temp.

Mightily dark brown body. Inch and a half of solid, creamy, peanut butter brown head. Nice lacing. Nose of espresso, roasted barley, blueberries, molasses, and cocoa.

Thin veil of roasted malt and coffee quickly gives way to sweetness. Sugary dark fruits, honey, and maraschino cherries dominate. Whew, this is one sweet stout. Some smoky, peaty notes around the edges, but not enough to distract me from the cloying malts. Finish stays sweet with lingering fruit and manuka honey flavors. Medium-full body. Not bad if you like sweet stouts, but it's a little much for me.

 613 characters

Photo of MBrausen
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a bomber into a CBS snifter.

A. Pours a rich dark black, mocha head 2 fingers thick, rests at a small 1mm ring.

S. Smells of smoked wood, peat, oak and berries.

T. Tastes of super heavy smoked wood, peat, sweet cherries, and slight honey.

M. Medium-heavy body, medium low carbonation, coarse and dry feeling.

O. A pretty decent beer. Tastes like pure smoke. Doesn't have any of the normal RIS tones to it at all.

 450 characters

Photo of quirkzoo
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours almost black with a little brown around the edges and one finger of tan head. The aroma is extremely roasty. Tons of chocolate and coffee maltiness and an herbal characteristic that I recognize as birch only because I just had the Stone collab pumpkin beer that also had birch. The taste is more of the same, heavily roasted and nice sweet RIS. Good but nothing that really surprised me. The birch complexity was also a bit lost in the taste. The mouthfeel was extremely smooth, just enough carbonation, perfect for the style. Overall I am happy I picked this one up at the store but probably won't seek it out again.

 623 characters

Photo of claaark13
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sent as an extra by a guy who likes the Raiders but also enjoys beer. Poured into a Founders snifter.

A - Pours fairly dark, not quite black, with a nice tan head. Doesn't seem to stick to the glass all that well. It looks alright though. It could certainly be a little darker.

S - Tons of roast with a slight amount of booze coming through. Sugary sweetness appears towards the end. That is likely the birch syrup and honey.

T - Roast throughout. Some brown sugar, bitter chocolate, mild vanilla, then more roast. The flavor seems gets a little airy for a moment on each sip. The sweetness and roast dominate the final flavors.

M - A little on the light side of medium.

O - Not a bad one at all. Reminds me a lot of Stone IRS. It is a solid, presumably off-the-shelf RIS.

 779 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber to CBS Snifter.

A - Black with half a finger of brown head.

S - Big hit of smoke up front followed by roasted malts, chocolate and a big sweetness (likely from the honey and birch sap but I don't get those aromas specifically). Some licorice and molasses in the background.

T - Roasted malts and smoke up front that give way to chocolate, coffee and molasses. A very faint dark fruit taste is evident in the background. The big sweetness is present in the palate as well, but is certainly not overwhelming; again the honey and birch sap aren't specifically detected. The ABV is very well hidden.

M - Medium body with a nice chew. Moderate carbonation; a little less carbonation would be preferred.

O - A very good imperial stout.

 746 characters

Photo of tavernjef
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ebon pour and glossy. Nary a foam approaches the lift as it hits a slim tiny crown of tanned foam. A few light patches of lace are stuck about the glass.

Aroma is sweet and tangy with a milky chocolateyness and slim roasty dark fruityness tosseed about with maple and rum soaked dark dates. Yup, its got some boozy little nose kick that's nice and warm to the nose. There's a certain earthy wood tone to it that's indecipherable but its detectable in its own right. Unique and likeable.

Flavors are a tad thin for an RIS, but pretty interesting and complex in its character. Perhaps its the body that's just not pulling it in the right direction, cuz it really seems more porter-esque than RIS. Has some light smokey tones of dark fruity tang;raisin/date; and milk chocolate sweetness as a stretched out wood themed herbalness flecks about within its dark tangy sweetness. Rests a sliver of warmth and cocoa dustings in the finish as it keeps a lightly firmed tang of dark malt.

Feel's a tad thin and weakened, as noted in the taste - it does pull in some lengthy malty tang and slimming warmth that sits on the palate well enough for thorough enjoyment. But seemingly more like a milk stout or standard porter in bodyness. But just with a bit more complexity in it's flavor profile for what it offers.

A very likeable brew, enjoyable with some nice complexity that has some earthy tones and malty tanged mixing well together with a slight warming of yummyness. Not quite a RIS in my book, but that may be splitting some brewing style hairs?

 1,545 characters

Photo of Mahlik
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Bailey's Taproom. Poured into snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours an opaque black with an thin mocha head. Head dissipates quickly. Minimal amount of lacing. Appears viscous.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, hints of vanilla and chocolate. Some sweetness from the syrup. A faint oak aroma exists. Some smokiness.

T - Coffee, roasted malts and molasses. Some chocolate on the back end. Don't pick up any of the syrup or honey. Not bad for a ordinary stout but really lackluster for an anniversary beer.

M - The body is a bit thin IMO. Good amount of carbonation. A nice creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is hidden well.

O - Disappointed with this. For an anniversary beer, I was expecting this big, complex imperial stout. Instead, I got an average, forgettable stout. Try it if you are a fan of Alaskan brewery.

 821 characters

Photo of morimech
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black color with two fingers of head that had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Good stout aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, and a touch of smoke. A little bit of an underlying sweetness permeates through the aroma that I attribute to the honey.

The flavor is heavily influenced by the roasted malt. More minor flavors include a sweet chocolate and some smoke. A little heavy handed in execution. Not picking up anything from the "special" ingrediants.

Solid imperial stout body. Nice creamy, smooth texture.

The flavor was a little too one dimensional and the honey and syrup did not add much. Still a good stout and one of Alaskan Brewing better beers.

 739 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at The Liquor Shed in Casper for $8.99 with a sticker underneath for $12.99. Good move.

It has a timeline on the bottle:

1986-First Alaskan beer sold
1988-Alaskan Amber voted best beer in the nation (GABF)
1990-First Alaskan beer sold in lower 48
1995-New 10 barrel brewhouse
2002-Alaskan picks up 25th medal at GABF
2005-Alaskan hits 100,00 barrels
2011-Cheers to the next 25 years

On to the beer...

It pours a pitch black with a 2 finger head of tan foam and it leaves some nice lacing.

It smells roasty, bitter, sweet, getting some notes of coffee, kind of a light nose despite the diversity.

The taste is complex as hell. There's a lot of sweet notes some spice, I'm assuming the fireweed honey is coming into play here; big roasted and burnt malts, almost like charcoal that you get off of a bbq, and coffee grounds, with a strange flavour that must be the birch syrup..I googled it and that spice IS from the birch. Quite a unique array of different tastes that at various times during the session sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

I've got mixed feelings about this beer and it's going to be tough for me to rate it properly.

Medium, close to full bodied with low levels of carbonation, it certainly has a nice mouthfeel but the ample alcohol is now kicking in and the sips are getting slower and slower. I think I'll cellar my other 2 bottles and see what happens.

Overall, worth picking up and giving it a go now and down the road..

 1,465 characters

Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with a anniversary date on the bottle of 25 years. Cheers to that!!

LOOK: Pitch black, thick tan lacing

SMELL: Chocolate syrup, birch sap, burnt sugar, espresso, charcoal, booze, nougat, ripe figs

TASTE: Sweet, full body, mocha, tree sap, charcoal, coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, taffy, faint honey, modest hopping, rich, sweet finish

Good use of birch syrup as that is a flavor that can take over real quick, solid for the style with the whole Russian Imp. Stout and such. Great to see some flare added to it, seems to work better since the cooler weather has arrived.

 587 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid black color with a stingy tan head that dissipates to a ring on top. Smells like a foreign extra stout at first whiff. Restrained roasted grains, caramel and brown sugar, a hint of wintergreen, slightly herbal and earthy aromas. Really not smelling like an Imperial stout at this point. Taste is sugary with that herbal earthy flavor to it. It's kind of a mix of wintergreen and anise wrapped up in chocolate and coffee. Finish is fairly dry with a long lingering wintergreen and sweet roasty stickiness coating my mouth. Medium to thick body with a low to moderate level of carbonation and a thick sweet sticky mouthfeel. I love how this is different and kind of outside the box, but I also hate the flavor the birch sap gives it. The herbal wintergreen flavor just doesn't agree with me or my sense of stout. Glad I got to try it, probably one and done for this guy.

 882 characters

Photo of tbern007
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz 25th anniver. bomber.
Very dark dark brown/black. No light coming through even the edges. Tan head, lasts, good lace.
Smells of roasted malt, coffee, bitter chocolate, mild hops.
Tastes like bold, malt, roast, wood, coffee with dark chocolate.
Smooth, not as heavy as it appears. The alcohol is hidden and not very apparent.
Very very drinkable. Tasty, not heavy/filling.

 395 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, with snazzy looking silkscreen printed on design.

appears black, with very thin tan head, but fades very fast. I can smell the birch syrup. also quite smokey flavor in the aroma.

not much roasted malt in the taste. but good balance though of the bittering birch, and sweetness of the honey. actually quite thin for the style. low carbonation, the beer stays on the tongue.

overall - a bit of a disapointment. for the style, I expected a bolder, thicker beer for a big bad Anniversary RIS.

 507 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.28/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: pours black with a little foam patch and ring. no lace. Plain appearance.
S: smells sweet with esters. Hints of acetone and little else. Reminds me of a RIS I did that fermented entirely too hot.
T: Smoky. Is there smoked malt in this? (reads bottle, doesn't say). It's gotta have some smoke in it. Then some molasses tones. A sweet and dark malt profile with an interesting spice tone, must be the birch.
M: Surprisingly thin IMO with moderate carb and a semi dry finish.
O: Really disappointed with the overall structure of this beer. I think they missed the spot as their beers are typically robust and this one is delicate and sweet; a poor showing for their 25th anny.

 678 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed with birch syrup and fireweed honey. Neat! Thanks a million (oh heck, a billion) to msubulldog25 for this bottle.

Pours a head of dark brown that unfortunately doesn't stay long. The color is somewhere between the darkest brown possible and black. Whatever...it's freakin' dark, ok?

The smell is wonderful. Various succulent dark fruits, sweet herbs, and toffee/caramel wrapped in a thin blanket of smoke. Hints of gooey chocolate and coffee.

Take all that the nose offers, and add brown sugar, cola and black liquorice to summarize the taste. And while that makes for a long list of flavor impressions, it's really not that complex, or quite that mindblowing. Something's stopping it from reaching godly heights, and I think it's mostly the feel. Which is not bad, but if this had an uber-smooth, super-round, thicker feel like, say, Bell's Expedition stout (a paragon of awesome texture) this would've been tremendous. Instead it's a couple hairs thinner and more carbonated than it should be. But still, it's tremendous enough, and not as sweet as you might think, considering the syrup/honey additions. Does really well with some warming too. Of course, most stouts do, and Perseverance is no exception to the rule. Alaskan does big dark beers best, don't they?

 1,275 characters

Photo of JohnnyP3
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a beer goblet. Pours a pitch-tar black with about 2 fingers of thick sand colored head. Produces some decent lacing on the glass. The head simmers down to a crown that nicely caps the RIS.

The nose on this is quite complex as it warms. Here are some of the smells I picked up at various points while making my way through the bomber: birch, smoke, honey, sweet malts, dark chocolate, roasted/toasted malts, tobacco, dark fruit (plum), leather, and some booze heat from the alcohol.

The taste is similarly complex and intriguing. At the start, I got some dark fruit, such as plum, raison and prune, followed up by dark chocolate. The dark chocolate is complemented by smoked malts and some coffee/roasted malts flavors. I think the birch syrup comes through towards the end. Finishes up with a mix of sweet honey-like flavors and bitter-sweet chocolate flavors. Some lingering smoke as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth as velvet. Medium-bodied and lightly carbonated. A little like syrup at the finish with some alcohol heat.

Overall, a very fitting brew to commemorate 25 years. Has a great Alaskan frontier taste to it. Drinks very well now and I plan to cellar several to taste over the next few years.

 1,218 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber October 1st at Total Wine for $7.49.

Brew poured black with a nice brown head that has been leaving lacing behind.

Nose is slight hint of smoked malts and not much else.

Taste is dominated by the smoked malts, but is balanced nicely by a hint of sweetness and decent hopping.

Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped but there is a degree of smoothness that enhances the sipping experience.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew. The taste has that rough smokey edge to it. The alcohol is pretty well disguised.

If you like the RIS style check this one out!

 572 characters

Photo of stakem
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to the generous JohnGalt1 for this as an extra in our most recent trade. Poured into a standard pint glass, this brew appears black in color with a dark tan head displaying a finger's strength atop. When held to the light, it shows a thin ring of brown clarity and ruby coloration more towards the middle. As the cap slowly fades, it leaves some patches of lace sticking to the glass. A rough swirl revives a quick dissolving head back to the surface.

The smell of this brew has an atypical sweetness about it that I can only assume is from the combination of birch syrup and the honey addition. That sweetness to the nose integrates very well with the overall roasted quality of the dark grains. It displays a strong coffee scent, chocolate and somewhat of a smoked aspect from the char of the grain. All the while, there is a bit of a dark fruited sweetness like plum/raisins/prunes included towards the back that integrates with a light touch of alcohol.

The taste of this brew runs the entire gauntlet of character forewarned in the aroma. The dark grain quality provides a solid burnt bitterness that is lightly smokey mixed with a strong coffee bitterness, unsweetened chocolate and a bit of licorice. There are some fruity alcohol esters present that provide a flavoring of prunes or plums across the backend. Throughout the experience, small amounts of birch flavoring are present which is a very nice touch that creates an interesting distinction for this brew.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is a well balanced offering that I found quite enjoyable. Off the top of my head, I can only think of 2 other brews I have enjoyed that had birch syrup included and I think this one had it included in such a unique way that it was subtle yet very readily identifiable (if that makes any sense?) This is worth seeking out.

 1,885 characters

Photo of TCMike
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a very dark brown, bordering on black. The head was a dense, 3 fingers, and tan.

The aroma was of dark fruits, wood, and spices.

The taste is very similar to smell, but with the addition of alcohol, and sweetness. Thick mouth-feel, and low carbonation.

Good Ris. I haven't had many, but reminds me of Surly's Darkness.

 327 characters

Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.