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Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve - Old Chimneys Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special ReserveOld Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

52 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 52
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 136
Gots: 13 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Old Chimneys Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rastaman on 09-10-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 52 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, huge thanks to Popkas for sending this bottle out my way. 2008 vintage served in a snifter.

Pours near black with a great mocha-colored head that lasts for quite some time. Really nice lacing as it makes its way down the sides of the glass. The nose is really fantastic--chocolate and roast with a nice oak backing. Dark fruits make their way in as well, plus the addition of some light smoke. The taste is on the same level, and is almost vinous with dark fruits, oak, earth, and light smoke coming together exceptionally well. Solid roasted malt base and very little booze at all. Body is thick and creamy with carbonation on the low end. Really a phenomenal beer; the vinous character is amazing in the taste and feel.

Thorpe429, May 08, 2011
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -8.7%

nmann08, Jun 01, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this brew at the at the 2008 ZBF! Pours a pitch-black espresso color topped with a thin foamy head settling fast to the rim. Wow!!!! What an aroma; the sweet oaky, vanilla fragrance leads the nose, sticky dark stone fruits with a touch of full-bodied ruby port, while the stout's mild roast-ness is softened to a silky smooth bitter chocolate-ness underneath. Swirling the glass brings out underlying alcohol, but a Hell of lot milder than 11% suggests. Smoothly balanced between sourness, sweetness, and oak; relatively little input of bitter roasted malts, along with being well-crafted and robust without being harsh at all. The taste was incredible!!! Sticky and oily sour-sweet dark-fruitiness, quickly followed by an aromatic mouthful of black/roasted malts in the form of leather, sweet coffee, chewy and bitter chocolates gradually the taste is taken over by a delicately vanillas note of cigar and charred-woodchips aftertaste lingering at the back of the palate. The overall structure of the flavor profile evolves all the time...Got to love this brew!!! "Silky Smooth" is not strong enough to describe the superb mouth feel of this beer. This beer will be at the top of my list of favorites. Thanks Mes for this magnificent brew; I Need More!!!

ygtbsm94, May 30, 2008
Photo of spycow
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alfrantzell shared this one last night. Thanks, Arne. 2007 vintage. Pours black and nearly flat, only a thin mocha colored collar forms from a hard pour. Viscous with syrupy legs.

Whiffs of dark chocolate, smoke and licorice are immediately noticed in the aroma, with some whiskey-like heat behind it. Barrel aging is evident, as is alcohol. As it warms, I get currant-like fruit notes. I'm not certain which kind of barrels are used for the aging process, but I'm guessing it's some form of whiskey.

The first sip reveals flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, caramel and smoke. The alcohol is plainly noticeable, warming but not harsh. There are dark fruit undertones, prune and fig like in character. Full bodied with a firm roasty bitterness, this finishes chocolatey, mildly tannic with some vinous and oak lingering on the palate long after you've swallowed. Very enjoyable stuff, it's complex and rich without being particularly sweet.

largadeer, May 26, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to ygtbsm94 for this brew. This is the 2007 vintage, best before November 14th, 2012. Served in my Darkness snifter.

A - Pours with a thin tan foam that settles to a solid ring and some wispy film, leaving behind spotty but plentiful lace. The body is midnight black.

S - Huge oak and vanilla notes, milk chocolate, cake, fudge. There might be the slightest hint of diacetyl, but it could just be the incredibly intense "buttery oak" flavor - in any case it reminds me of chocolate buttercream. There are also elements of booze-soaked fruits, roast malt, and port. As it warms hints of sweet balsamic vinegar and smoke emerge as well. This must have been aged in some sort of whisky barrel, as there's no other way to explain the rise in ABV between this and the regular version. Still a bit boozy, even after three years.

T - Vinous notes, dark fruits, vanilla, buttery oak. This is quite a different beast from American barrel-aged stouts with significantly less overt whisk(e)y and charred malts, and much more fruit character. There's some light port-like oxidation, and a slightly tannic, and bitter finish that also features light sour grapes.

M - The rich full body is incredibly smooth and silky, with extremely low carbonation. It's not quite cask-like, but it's pretty close (nitro-like?). Tannic finish and a bit of warmth in the back of the throat.

D - I had no problem finishing the 275ml bottle on my own (my wife just didn't dig this beer). The barrel presence is quite brash at times, but it isn't an inhibitor by any means. That being said, this is probably best shared. I'd love to score another bottle to see what a few more years does.

MasterSki, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the highlight of the evening at my place, Thorpe popped this bottle out, this is how you do a RIS.

2008 vintage

Beer is black with nearly no head but still manages to leave some lacing on the glass, carbonation low.

Aroma is incredible. Licorice, mild booziness but not offputting, mild vanilla, oak and chocolate, awesomeness.

Beer is medium in body and pretty sweet at leadoff. The finish is smooth and mildly dry with a roasty bitterness to the beer that is quite pleasant and not distracting. The late forward and midpalate are sweet with booze / bourbon chocolate and a little late vanilla. It all comes together so well, a very spectacular beer here. I'd have it again for sure.

drabmuh, May 16, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to crusianbeer for sharing this bottle. Brewed 11/16/09.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt with a hint of dark fruit and some chocolate thrown in. The flavor is similar, with the dark fruit standing out more in the flavor than it did in the aroma. I also get some nice oak and chocolate notes, as well as a hint of soy and once again, some heavily roasted malt. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Jun 16, 2012
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -8.7%

XmnwildX12, May 08, 2014
Photo of wl0307
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the third beer on my 2006 X'mas beer tasting menu. Purchased at the bottled British beer bar, Pig's Ear Beer Festival, early December 2006. Coming in a 275ml slim brown bottle, at 11%abv., the front label says: "Good King Henry Special Reserve 2002. An oak matured Imperial Stout brewed for the tenth anniversary on the 1st May, 2005 of Old Chimneys Brewery... Limited edition of 1000 bottles".--sounds very special indeed. Brewed on 05/01/2002, BB 05/01/2007. Served cool in a large Burgunday bulb wine glass, on 27/12/2006.

A: pours a pitch-black espresso colour, topped with a thin foamy khaki head settling fast to a rimmed foam; carbonation unknown.
S: just like what it says on the bottle, the sweet oaky, vanilla-ish fragrance leads the nose (like the scent of American white-oak barrels), covering a smooth bed of oily treacles, sticky dark stonefruits (raisins, plum jam and preserved red dates) with a touch of full-bodied ruby port, while the stout's mild roastiness is softened through 5-year-ageing to a silky smooth bitter chocolate-ness underneath... a swirl brings out underlying alc., but still much much milder than 11% suggests. Smoothly balanced between sourness, sweetness and oakiness with relatively little input of bitter roasted malts, and it's hard to discern one element from another--well-crafted and robust without being harsh at all.
T: sticky and oily sour-sweet dark-fruitiness (with a touch of Chinese smoked prunes)... quickly followed by an aromatic mouthful of black/roasted malts in the form of leather, sweet coffee, chewy and bitter chocolates... gradually the foretaste is taken over by a delicately vanilla-ish note of cigar and charred-woodchips aftertaste lingering at the back of the palate; a chewy, powdery texture of yeasts, mashed black beans, bitter licorice and flat-textured hops are more profound in the superbly soothing and bitter aftertaste, but the most lingering is still that tinge of charred-woody aroma. The overall structure of the flavour profile evolves all the time...
M&D: the word "silky smooth" is not strong enough to describe the sublime mouthfeel of this beer, while the texture remains nice and refreshing with microscopic fizz rubbing the tastebuds by stealth. Being in line with the tradition of English Russian Imperial Stout, this beer shows a rather quiet profile that invites one to explore with patience. The several years of ageing has softened the beer to an almost Chinese herb-syrupy texture, in that it's impossible to detect any bit of alc. while the body is oily and rich. This beer simply has to be a firm favourite of mine for this category.

wl0307, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

2008 vintage (13.11.2008)

The beer appears a near black shade, with a small, mocha colored head that leaves a nice sheet of lacing as it cascades down the glass. The aroma is really outstanding and complex, with scents including roast, licorice, dark fruit, light booze, oak, vanilla, chocolate. The flavor is top notch. The beer is remarkably thick and brings a distinctive vinous, dark fruit character throughout. The aftertaste lingers for a considerable time, and coats the palate with a bouquet of roast and dark fruit flavors. Overall, a terrific beer, and a superb example of a Russian imperial stout.

Huhzubendah, May 09, 2011
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ditmier provided this one at the weekend tasting... Thanks Eric and to the good person who made this possible.

Very short lasting dark tan head.. the brew looks still.

Nose shows good oak and hints of licorice... not as much "roast" as expected instead the dark malts show with deep dark fruits and a minor cocoa.

Virtually still on the palate lends toward a slick and oily palate.. sorta thick and obviously coating.. deep and rich from front to back... rich waves of "standard" RIS flavors.. deep chocolate without too much sweetness... a bit too much smokey char for my liking. I also thought a bit of cigar wrapper showed on the outside but without enough sugar to pull it out.

Body is very nice... carbonation is next to nothing, but is expected and I dig it.

Thanks Eric.. I truly appreciate the chance to try this gem.

3.5/4/4/3.5/4

JohnGalt1, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Thorpe429 for sharing this in May (thanks a ton Mike!). This backlogged review is now going on-line.

This pours very dark, an opaque blackness with a thin tan foam. One of the richest aromas I've had in a stout, so much more going on here than I expected. Sweet and roasty, cocoa and dark fruits, this seems to have everything. It starts out tasting initially sweet, with plums/raisins and sweet malts, then moves to nicely roasted malts and a dry aftertaste that lasts and lasts. Incredible. This was an incredible treat, the first beer of the night and everything else suffered for it.

TurdFurgison, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

275 mL bottle to a Kate the Great snifter. 2009 vintage, brewed 11/16/2009 (a), whatever the (a) means. Huge thanks to Paul for this bottle.

Appearance - Viscous looking black with almost no bubbles until I begin to pour into the glass vertically. A mocha ring around the beer with some lovely legs.

Smell - Oh my. Easily one of the most compelling stouts I've ever smelled. Chocolate malt and probably the two most dominant aromas, but dark fruits pierce through with oak and a slight smokiness that adds an earthy complexity that is just wonderful.

Taste - Perhaps the nose was a high standard to set. It lacks a bit of the refinement of the aroma. Oak immediately permeates a dark chocolate flavor that becomes bitter and smokey as it lingers. The oak dominates the aftertaste, giving it a slight astringent and vinous character.

Mouthfeel - If I'm honest, I feel it's a touch thin. Maybe the oak makes it feel that way. Low carbonation helps simulate some body.

Overall - It would be unfair to say I was let down by the taste, but it just smells so wonderful. The flavors are all there in the taste, but at different proportions from the aroma. If it lived up to the nose, it would be one of the best stouts out there.

Alieniloquium, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of jrallen34
3.8/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to Mike for letting us try this on a random Monday night...Pours dark brown with almost no carbonation at all, few bubbles here and there on the side of the tulip...The aroma to me smells like a really expensive bourbon, more of a spirit than a beer. Really nice oak, vanilla, bourbon, very buttery. I'd love this as a bourbon night cap, as a beer, I'm struggling with it...The taste is dead on with the aroma, very spirit like. Butter velvet feel and taste, lots of oak and bourbon.

Everyone else pretty much loved this, I just don't get it. Its not beer like in aroma, taste or texture. Doesn't necessarily taste bad, just not what I'm looking for. A rare tick probably worth trying but I would not actively search this out.

jrallen34, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

chippo33, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of KAF
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

KAF, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had as a pre-game to the 2nd Annual Redneck Racin’ & Tastin’! Big thanks goes out to BRoss242 for this one! 2009 vintage! Served from bottle into an Ommegang Three Philosophers chalice. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger brown head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, and smoked ham. The flavor was of sweet malt, brown sugar, dark chocolate, wood, sweet alcohol, and smoke. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. While the aroma on this one wasn’t very complex it was just right in the components and intensity. The smoked ham going on in it was almost divine in my opinion. The flavor on this one was pretty good as well as the smokiness was quite pleasant. Definitely glad I got the chance to try this one and I honestly believe that everyone should. Still need to try the ‘OTHER’ King Henry now…

thagr81us, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thank you to ygtbsm94 for a very generous trade. Sampled with Alex, Sean, and Jason.

A - Black beer with a very small tan head that quickly dissipated. It's a good looking, dark beer, but does look slightly flat.

S - Oak, butter, cream, chocolate, slight sweet fruit, wine. A really great subtle medley of smells that are all complimentary, with nothing over powering. The vinous qualities come through with a little bit of edgy booze and oak, suprising for a beer that has this much age on it.

T - A rather big difference here between the British and American RIS. The flavors on this are much more subtle and less powerful than an American RIS. Smmooth butter, cream, dark chocolate (nothing overly sweet) and dark fruit all blend together. There is some hard oak taste, and some rather vinous qualities with a touch of leather. All very smooth, other than an edge of hot alcohol that isn't too strong, but a bit surprising given the age.

M - Full, very smooth, very low carbonation. It works for this beer, although I am not sold on if I would like it more or less with more carbonation.

D - Drinks easier than an 11%, and is very good. I am not convinced I can fully appreciate the subtlties of this yet, particularly when used to be American RIS, and would love to try another one.

AgentZero, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of bsuedekum
4.25/5  rDev -3%

bsuedekum, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Jan for getting me this rarity, 275mL bottle 2006 vintage, poured into a snifter. ABV listed as 11% on this bottle.

It pours a very viscous-looking black that has a small tan head develop right after the pour which quickly fades back to a bubbly collar and leaves only traces of lacing.

The aroma is like a mix of imperial stout and barleywine, and in the best ways possible. There a lot more sweetness that a typical RIS, with lots of caramel, vanilla and dark fruits. There are dark roasted malts and some dark chocolate that bring in the stout character and it's got a huge whiskey and oak presence in the nose on top of that. Unbelievable nose.

The taste has much of the same characteristics as the aroma but there is more peat and smoke than the aroma suggested. The underlying dark malts and sweetness from the fruit and licorice is all there but the finish really brings the smoked peat into play and finishes almost like a scotch with a slight alcohol burn going down.

THe mouthfeel is extremely slick and carbonation is minimal. Overall, it's not the most robust of RIS's I've tried but it's got plenty of body.

This is an extremely interesting beer from Old Chimney's and probably the best beer I've had from the UK. The aroma attests to how complex the beer is with a dizzying array of things going on and coming together very well. Highly recommended!

gford217, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of tpd975
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gunhaver for providing the bottle.

A: Pours a rich shade of dark brown or light black depending on how you look at it. The head is on the smaller side, with just a touch of lace.

S: Oak and bourbon bounce out from the start, not overpowering though. Vanilla, roasted malt and molasses are there as well in equal amounts.

T: Nice dark fruit flavors up front. Roast, molasses sweetness carry you through the middle. The oak and vanilla along with some chocolate come in the finish.

M: On the fuller side of medium, nice subtle carbonation.

D: Really good, probably the beer English beer I have ever had.

tpd975, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of cpetrone84
3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 on the bottle. Pour is jet black with a small amount of very tight caramel brown head. Nose is full and well balanced, lots of oak with hints of vanilla and a nice brownie batter aroma. A bit of booze in the back. Taste has much less barrel, a sweetness in back that wasn't there in the nose. Light wood, some rich malt mid palate and berry sweetness takes over. Very full bodied with a boozy finish linger and fairly assertive carbonation. Quite a dry finish with a touch of sweetness lingering.

cpetrone84, Feb 04, 2014
Photo of tom10101
4.25/5  rDev -3%

tom10101, Aug 30, 2013
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Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve from Old Chimneys Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.