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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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

28 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 28
Hads: 59
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 7.01%
Wants: 143
Gots: 15 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Old Chimneys Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rastaman on 09-10-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Hads: 59
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.51/5  rDev +2%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (697 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (651 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (728 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev -11.3%
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 (845 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to Mike for this one! Poured into Darkness snifter.

A - Pours black, very small tan-colored head which quickly vanishes to a few bubbles and whisps on top of the beer.

S - Smooth booze, dark chocolate, oak, hints of caramel and dark fruits. The chocolate and booze really work well together, and this nose is unlike any other barrel aged stout I can remember.

T - Chocolate, smooth booze, oak, slight dark fruit notes. The booze is much stronger on the nose and it really just a flash on the palate. Quite a lot of wine-like notes from this one, which made this even more enjoyable by adding another dimension.

M - Medium (a tad too light) body, light carbonation, smooth creamy finish.

D - I really enjoyed this one. The booze, wine notes, and chocolate really combined together to create some different and special. I would def drink this one again, if given the chance. (890 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.79/5  rDev -14.3%
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. (738 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (1,298 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
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 spirit 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. (1,672 characters)

Photo of FreshHawk
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black with very dark brown hues. Smaller than average, tight foamy, creamy dark cafe head. Average retention that settles into a nice layer of creamy lace.

S - Lots of dark malt that is toasted with lots of caramel. Decent amount of dark fruit. Lots of sweet chocolate and coffee and a good amount of soy aroma. Slight balsamic aspect, and some oaky and bourbon presence. A touch of earthiness as well. Mix of tartness and some dark roastiness.

T - Similar to the nose, with dark fruit (fig, plum, prune, date) being upfront first. Tartness comes out a bit. Then a bit more of a roasted dark malt and chocolate comes out. Mid sip a bit more earthy, tobacco, and woody flavors come out. Slight soy flavor comes out mid to the finish of the sip, not really strong, but present.

M - Medium body with about average carbonation. Very oily, smooth, and silky feel.

D - Pretty drinkable beer Diverse flavors that make me ant to keep drinking to find more. Soy and tartness can be slightly off-putting but not too bad.

Notes: Vintage 2007. Complex and interesting beer. A good and interesting stout. Not a chocolate/coffee bomb if that is what you like. Worth trying if you can find it. (1,194 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (939 characters)

Photo of mdagnew
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle bought online from Beermerchants.com... 2007 vintage

Poured blacker than black even when held up to the light... Dirty mocha brown head poured quite loose and fizzy and faded very quickly to just a ring around the edge... very little lacing..

Aroma - Very strong sweet oaky bourbon to the fore straight away, very woody and earthy, lots of fresh vanilla, roasted malts, hints of tar, cigar smokiness, rich stewed dark fruits (blackcurrents and prunes), molasses and burnt brown sugar, alcohol is pretty noticeable, butterscotch, fresh black pepper

Taste - Tons of roasted and charred malts mixed with strong molasses / black treacle sweetness followed closely by warming alcohol, lots of vanilla, liquorice, defnite cigar / tobacco smokiness, rich dark sweet fruits (prunes, figs, raisins, blackcurrents), very earthy, espresso, soy, alcohol definitely comes through, dark chocolate...

Feel - Rich, thick and syrupy... very full bodied.. suprisingly drinkable for a 11% brew...

Overall - An absolutely exquisite stout and one of the best beers i've ever had... highly recommended. I have four more of these and i can't wait to see how they age... (1,164 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, thanks again to Brad for this rarity! 2007 Special Reserve bottle, 11% abv.

The deep, thick black brew pours into my tulip with no head formation whatsoever. A faint bubble or two are resurrected by a generous swirl. No real lacing to speak of, but some nice wine-like legs.

This one REALLY needs to warm up to reveal the complexities. Even cellar temp will not do it justice. Barrel impact is evident with some sweet vanilla and caramel combining with (and somewhat masking) a bit of booze. To say the Oak is evident would be an understatement. This is a very woody beer. As it fully warmed, more dark chocolate flavors became apparent with a dash of soy sauce.

Very rich and viscous flavor profile here. Robust dark chocolates and roasted malts, booze soaked cherries and a waft of a nearby campfire. Plenty of wood and a good helping of molasses. The extremely low level of carbonation only exacerbates the thickness of this beer, making it somewhat oily. Alcohol is well hidden. I split this ~9.3oz (275mL) bottle and probably sipped on my glass for an hour while doing some other things this afternoon. It was a very nice stout and a definite sipper, but I was satisfied. Thanks for the chance, Brad! (1,216 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (616 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
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! (1,383 characters)

Photo of Douglas88
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to Doppelganger for this bottle. What a find. 275 ml bottle September 2005 vintage drank August 2008. Pours a dark brown body with a nice medium orange brown head that stays throughout. The nose is very strong and awesome; cocca, burnt malts, light dark fruits and some hints of oak. The flavor is very damn complex and so good; smoke and woody, almost meaty flavors, some barrel and soy sourness, sweet chocolates and roasted malt. I drank this with footbalm and he remarked aptly that this beer is so full of flavors, none of which are overpowering in any way. Just full enough to give you the ability to taste it all. Amazing.

This rating is for the Reserve, which is in the picture on this site. (714 characters)

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
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!!! (1,259 characters)

Photo of wl0307
4.82/5  rDev +9%
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. (2,642 characters)

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Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve from Old Chimneys Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.