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"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout - Hoptown Brewing Company

Not Rated.
"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

55 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hoptown Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 07-09-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by pentathlete:
Photo of pentathlete
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate brown with a minimal foamy head that falls rapidly to a choco-ring and swirly islands of bubbles. The nose hits with cordial (like a liqueur, not like friendly) and sugars, with plenty of hop overtones. Big malt flavor, ashy hops underneath, and a nice alcohol burn to close things out. Tasty. Mouthfeel isn't as smooth as I expected, feeling big bodied at first and then losing its form and finishing a bit thin. Certainly drinkable, big, lots of flavor.

pentathlete, Mar 26, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of shapudding
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick, luscious, creamy, black-brown, with a reddish-brown and thick head that reduced down to a ring and nice dusting swirl. Lovely! Amazing scents of darkness! Piney hoppiness, chocolate, red wine... yummm... Surprisingly vineous taste in there. Hearty red wine flavors, roasted malts, chocolate. Dark coffee in the after taste. Body is not as thick as it looks like it would be. Flows easily and smoothly over your tongue. Don't get me wrong, there is a TON of flavor going on here! This is great for sipping or relaxing, but maybe not as a session. Very good stuff!

shapudding, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of OStrungT
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours almost black. It looks inky. The dark brown head fades quickly leaving thick laces. This beer is very thick. It smells malty. Also, there is an alcohol smell as well as coffee and carmel. It tastes of coffee and chocolate. The alcohol taste is apparent. This is a smooth beer. Quite malty. It is carbonated just right. Due to the somewhat high alcohol content, this beer might not be the best choice for a night of drinking, but one or two is quite nice. This beer is, in my opinion, quite good. Definately worth buying a few bottles.

OStrungT, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of IntriqKen
2.38/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I love Imperial Stouts.
I don't love this one.
Poured jet black with a half finger tan head that melted to fine lacing.
Aroma is subdued dark fruits and alcohol.
Taste is raisins, prunes, coffee, alcohol. Pretty much the right elements, but tastes like they are artificial flavorings added to alcohol rather than the results of fine brewing byproducts. Coffee taste is like too much instant coffee was put in the mix...dark fruit flavors are there, but not like they are mixed..more like they are setting on top of the alcohol.
Aftertaste is bitter reminisces of the dark fruits and a definite alcohol tasting.
Mouthfeel is too thin for this style.
One of my favorite styles done synthetically.

IntriqKen, May 29, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rough pour brings up a decent-sized head of creamy dark-tan foam atop an opaque black body; but it fails to hold for very long and leaves only minor spotty lace about the glass. Of course it is 9% abv, which cuts down on the head retention a little.... The nose delivers sweet cocoa, toffee, sugar, day-old coffee, a thick drizzle of molasses, and a pinch of citrus rind. It's delicate, seemingly natural (bottle-conditioned?), and exceptionally fine-bubbled carbonation leaves smooth across the palate. The flavor is more intense than the flavor suggests, with notes of burnt sugar, molasses, caramel, dark toffee, poorly made espresso, dark fruit, dark wine, citrus, and berries. It finishes dry and lingering with a splash of alcohol, a burnt/carbon note, and juicy citrus fruits. Interesting!

NeroFiddled, Apr 12, 2005
Photo of Troyone
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a possible slight amber hue, can not see if there is carb action, and there is definitely no head.

The smell is sweat and kind of bready, maybe a cookie dough molasses malt background with some chocolate and an orange hop aroma.

The best part about these evaluations (for the most part), at least moderately sweet, lightly acidic, and close to moderately bitter with lots of twangy chocolate and roasted molasses malt also has some orange hops.

Full bodied, syrupy and almost creamy texture, soft almost flat carbonation, and a smooth almost moderately alcoholic finish (hate when that happens).

If one likes the change up of Stouts in the mix this is a potent session Stout.

Troyone, Jul 31, 2005
Photo of Jredner
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was a deep black color poured into a tulip glass with a firm but smallish mocha head. Almond extract and vanilla in the aroma with ample raosted malt and mild chocolate. Licorice and chocolate flavors int he fore. Burnt tasting toward the end with ample bitterness. Very big and satisfying brew.

Jredner, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 7th Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival at the Carlsbad Pizza Port. Listed at 8.4% ABV, Old Yeltsin Imp. Stout was served via nitro-tap and had an onyx hue throughout and a creamy espresso-colored head, thanks to the nitro. Thin sheet lace coated the inside of the glass. A wide range of aromas presented themselves with each sniff – burnt coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, and dark fruits like plums, dates, and dark berries. The initial taste left a predominantly espresso-and-baker’s chocolate flavor on the tongue. Subsequent sips revealed much more; a burnt maltiness, a fruity sweetness, and some light hoppy spiciness. After each taste, a warming alcoholic bite washed across the throat and settled in the chest. The feel was full, rich and creamy.
Old Yeltsin Imperial Stout was quite enjoyable. The creamy feel and complex flavor profile made it quite easy to knock back. The alcohol was detectable which probably was a good thing or I’d have been on my ass from drinking it too fast! A nice offering from Hoptown Brewing, one worth picking up if you see it.

Boilermaker88, Dec 10, 2003
Photo of rallison
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an excellent dark black with a pretty decent 1 finger slightly fizzy tan head. Rich chocolate and roasted coffee aromas - nice and rich smelling.

Taste is good. Lots of rich dark chocolate and espresso, tons of malt. Some hops to balance, but mostly rich malts.

Mouthfeel is decent, but could use a touch more carbonation. Very rich, as an Imperial Stout should be.

Drinkability is good for an RIS.

Overall, recommended. I'd passed up this beer many times, simply because the label was kind of cheesy. But, this is a nicely done RIS. Maybe not a Stone or Bell's RIS, but good nonetheless.

rallison, Jun 06, 2007
Photo of Gusler
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From pour to the last drop, one of the better “Imperials I’ve tasted lately and a sure repeat as soon as I can place another order with “Hi-Time Wines”. The beer pours a Beau Ideal stout deep brown to black color with the head enormous in size, creamy in it consistency and a delightful chocolate brown color, the residual lace, sticky glutinous sheets to cover the glass. The aroma of toasted grain, coffee, sweet milk chocolate and of course sweet to the senses, “Perfecto”, start ambrosial with a nice grain profile, the top chocolate fudge thick, rich, sweet, and the finish biting in its hop spiciness, mellow on the carbonation, chocolate dry aftertaste that lingers on well after the last drop is siphoned from the glass. Big 9% ABV makes it a beer for these wet and cold winter nights, a real “Yummy for the Tummy”.

Gusler, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To be fair, I'm not sure of the exact age of this bottle. I know I ordered it from liquidsolutions at least 2 years ago and it's been sitting in my fridge since...
Appears a pitch black onyx with a small, creamy tan head that fades into a mild cap. Lots of streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of molasses, cream, ripe fruit, coffee, cocoa, and roasted grains.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild sour note. I'm not thinking oxidation due to age b/c there's none of that cardboard, or slickness going on in the flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly astringent, toasty, and mildly tart with coffee, & cocoa lingering on the semi-dry finish.

weeare138, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of baiser
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a stout that packs a punch. Pours like motor oil, thick and black with a thin, short lasting dark tan head. Heavy alcochol, dark roasted malts and finishes with a tinge of sourness. Taste is luscious, rich, molasses, roasty, burnt, sweet and wonderful. Hopped like there's no tomorrow. A great west coast stout. The alcohol was a bit much at the end.

baiser, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of Zorro
2.13/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a black brew impervious to light.

Smell is sweet and fruity with the expected coffee and chocolate aroma. Grain sneaks in under the stronger aromas.

Taste is very metallic! BLAH! Tastes like nails! I try but all I get is an Iron Taste.

Mouthfeel is thin.

Maybe I got a bad bottle but this was some bad stuff. I tried to like this but I had to pour it out, rusty nails brau.

Zorro, Aug 13, 2004
Photo of Phatz
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to weeare138 for sharing this beer.

Appearance: Pours opaque black with a moderate tan head and nice lacing.

Smell: There is a pleasant berry red fruit aroma along with the chocolate and roasted malts.

Taste: Dark malts and chocolate flavors and a berry tartness with a long lingering roasted aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium light in the mouth.

Drinkability: It is OK. The 9% does not show so that it a plus. It is a big beer to share. Worthy of a taste.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of meathookjones
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber. Pours out an opaque black color with a smallish tan head that left some sticky strings of lace decorating the glass. Dark chocolate and vinous fruit notes seem most prevalent in the aroma. A bit more dark fruit and light roastiness come out the more it warmed. Flavor kicks off with some ripe fruity sweetness with a bit of bitter sweet dark chocolate following that. Very light roasty notes in the back. More sweetness comes on towards the end with some plums and figs. Lightly bitter dark chocolate finish. Very tasty with lots going on in the flavor. Pretty slick feel to it with a good thickness though a little more body would have been nice. Greatly drinkable brew. No sign of alcohol plus a great flavor makes this go down quickly and leave me wanting more. Recommended.

meathookjones, Aug 31, 2005
Photo of poluti
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a dark muddied black with a very dark tan head. It is a great looking imperial stout. The smell is a muddled chocolate with a hint of nut and alcohol. It's sensation is a little bit above average for the style. I was missing the minor hop notes associated with my favorite beers of this style. However, all in all, a decent nose. The taste was pleasant. Very malty with minor bitterness for the style. It was a tinge sour on the sides of the tongue. It had a decent body but a little too thin for an Imperial Stout. There didn't seem to be a sound balance between sweet and bitterness as the sweet malty flavors do an overload on the taste buds. It is a very drinkable beer. Just be weary of the alcohol content. It could be the equivalent of a night-cap if you don't watch yourself.

poluti, Nov 01, 2005
Photo of aracauna
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not perfectly black, you can see brown light around the extreme edges, but it's dark enough not to count off for. The head is a nice medium brown soup foam, but thin and quick to fade into a weather pattern. A very rich malty aroma with some fruit aroma. Low hop presence. There's a lot of fig in the flavor. I can almost feel the tiny seeds in the fig preserves my mom makes from the fig tree in our yard next to the cannaa lillies. It's sweet, almost a little too sweet as it edges on cloying. This mild bitterness in the back keeps it just on this side of the line, though. Still, that figgy flavor makes it pretty interesting.

aracauna, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of sulldaddy
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle from westsidethreat I believe. I am sampling at room temp in a stemmed flute glass. The beer pours a pitch black and is fairly thick. A thick forthy tan head foams up 1 cm and recedes to a sturdy surface layer. Aroma is dark roasted malt and some coffee beans and a bit of molasses. First sip reveals an average to thick body with fin tingly carbonation. Texture is silky smooth. Flavor starts a little sweet or bittersweet chocolate some brown sugar and molasses with a finish of dark fruit, raisins and long roasted notes that linger. no real hint of abv anywhere. A tasty beer to try if you see it. I would like to have the opportunity again.

sulldaddy, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost completely opaque black, with only a thin ring of ruby around the bottom. In fact, I had to hold it up to my 100 watt lamp to see anything. A thick head, more bubbly than creamy, dark tan in color, lasting quite a while, and lacy lacing down the glass, leaving a spotty lacing after. A thick aroma of roasted malts, chocolate in there, an idea of licorice too, then searching deeper there is a funky something, like a bready but hoppish character to something underneath the roasted malts. This is a very complex and delightful aroma.

Let this brew warm up a bit, as I like my stouts that way. The taste begins a little less than expected, still very nice, but a little weaker than expected. But really, its just balanced very well, like the aroma. Roasted malt is obviously the primary focus here, a vein of dark chocolates and barley very present, and other dark delightful stuff. But there is a surprising hoppiness to it, hinted in the aroma, that lends a kind a sweetness that doesn't allow it to bitter all that much, an intersting turn that I can definitely appreciate.

This is an interesting beer to drink, with the varying character that leaves you guessing and searching for the answers. And it comes on slow, with its full character really coming on through the middle in a smooth wash of flavor, and slowly fades away with a hint of sweetness, slightly bitter, and mellow through a long and delightful fade. Not all that thick of a body, which at first was a little alarming, but came to not notice it as I went along and the flavor distracted me.

I picked this up when in San Fran at BevMo, filling out a basket of 750s. I think I picked it up mostly because I was picking up a lot of Belgian styles and IPAs. This is the first of Hoptown's two stouts I've had, and I can't wait for the other. I have to say though, if I weren't looking for darker beers, and there was a noticable lack of them to choose from, I wouldn't have had this joy. Really, I'm a design whore, and the label is downright boring. If given more work, Hoptown would be the better for it. So, keep Hoptown in mind when searching for beers, cause this truly has been a good find.

objectivemonkey, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of mzwolinski
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black in color with no head at all -- just a thin swirl of minute bubbles lacing the top. Roasty malt aroma with notes of tobacco.

The malt starts of dominant and fairly sweet, with the roastiness waiting to emerge until the aftertaste, and growing stronger as the beer warms. Finishes with hints of anise and a surprisingly strong hop flavor profile for the style. Alcohol is unobtrusive.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinnish. Very smooth, but still, all-in-all, this is a bit thin and uncomplicated for the style.

mzwolinski, Aug 31, 2004
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, let this baby warm up if it's been in the fridge. Flavors are much more dulled when cold, but seemingly even moreso than other beers, a beautiful hoppy rich flavor profile emerges once it warms up to just below room temp.

Pours mildly thick and black, very little head with a ring of brown lace. Chocolate covered plums and booze in the nose. You can taste the alcohol throughout, yet it remains in check when compared to the black currant, thick sludgy black coffee, chocolate and raspberry. Yow. And did I mention the hoppy kick in the (proverbial) balls this leaves in the finish? Wow. Real nice. Sweet and bitter aftertaste. Smooth with little carbonation, but it fits perfectly for this meal of a brew. Glad I picked this one up a few weeks back in SoCal. Tasty indeed. Definitely grew on me as it warmed.

IrishRedRock, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Another in a long line of bombers making their way out from deep in the beer fridge.

Lots of cocoa, almost like sticking your nose right above powdered cocoa. Like the brewers name would suggest it has a hoppy backside Mcgillicuty slapper that fits in nicely, some a woody bitter end adds to the slapper. Chocolate and cocoa linger forever, and there is an ultra rich, creamy remnance that forms an oily coating. A splash of Dark slightly cloyed fruits are deep and buried beneath this behemoth. Carbonation comes in with a flash towards the middle but can't budge the body of this bad boy.

Notes: Probably the best offering from Hoptown I've sampled. A variation on a great style.

DogFood11, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 ounce Bomber with a 3/4 plastic wrap label that has the generic Hoptown Brewery bottle label, with only the words ‘“Old Yeltsin” Imperial Stout’ to distinguish it from the rest of the range.

I recently tried this fine elixir at the 7th Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival held at the Pizza Port, Carlsbad. There it was served on Tap, maybe even Nitro if memory serves me right, but the PP program listed it as “only” 8.4%, but it was a favorite. So how great to sit down and dissect this fine IS and review it properly.

Appearance: Imperiously dark. Viscous pour, vitriolic, thick, dark and dangerous – it is absolutely ebonious black and devoid of all reflective properties, not even a hint of dark brown at the edges, nothing. It absorbs all forms of light and wavelengths. This is a true “Black Body”. As I pour it forms a nice ½” dark brown head that lasts. No wimpish lame covering for this Imperial Stout.

Nose: Lots of freshly roasted malts, deeply burnt roasted malts – am I on fire? The burnt roastness leaps over to the hop bitterness in the back end. This is like smelling burnt paper that has been drenched in Malt Vinegar. It's working its way towards me and taking over.

Taste: Roasted malts, pungently bitter coffee middle, hops in the back end. Rich thick and dangerous. The vinous tingle only rises in the middle and leaves that scathing acetic vinegar feel in the latter third of the beer, all the while burnt roasted malts still linger at the back of the pitch waiting to launch an invasion like mad Soccer Hooligans after England have yet again beaten Scotland at Wembley. The vinous lick at the end gives this beer a real Imperial stout kick that I love. Wow, this is some beer. I did not detect the vinous aspect on draft, it was too smooth. I prefer the bottled version for this reason.

Mouthfeel: It starts with, and leaves, a deep thick rich feel in the mouth that coats the tongue and cheeks with a velvety rich bitter chocolate taste. The ending has an astringent vinous hygroscopic finish that puckers the cheeks a little. Marvelous.

Drinkability: I’m going back to Hi-Times in Costa-Mesa to get some more of this beauty, its just waaay too good for anyone else to drink it. Even given the alcohol, this beer just slips down way too easily.

Overall: This is good shit. No wonder Boris was permanently pissed!

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 29, 2003
Photo of GClarkage
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

01/01/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA. First review of 2006!

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no bottling or freshness info. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Darker in color, approaching black. Nice larger inch or so creamy dirty brown head. Leaves very nice patches of lace behind.

Smell- Darker roasted malt scent with some chocolate notes, but not much coffee. Can smell some hop bitterness as well.

Taste- Wow, this is one hopped up beer. The sweet malt stuggles and barely cut through the sharp bitterness from the hops. Bittersweet chocolate, some maybe even smoky malt taste with just a touch of coffee.

Mouthfeel- Bittering doesn't last much into the aftertaste, but kicks you in the teeth when you first take a sip. Not really creamy, but fairly easy to quaff. Carbonation is about normal for most Double Stouts these days (too much). I even aged it for about a year. Wonder how hoppy this thing is fresh?

Drinkability- Probably will pass of this one again if I see it. Would be curious though about the taste from a fresh tapped keg.

GClarkage, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of czechsaaz
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big sweet treacle aroma with underliying roast malt. Pretty fantastic. Some vinuous fermentation aromas too.

Pours darker than coal at midnight with a smallish brown head that quickly fades.

Initial flavor is intense roast malt with good bitterness from hops. But that gives way mid-palate to really complex sweet malty finish. I get some dried prune and chocolate flavor too.

The body seems a little thin for something with this much flavor. I want it to be huge and chewy and it's big.

Really nice sipping beer.

czechsaaz, Sep 12, 2005
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"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout from Hoptown Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.