Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Vortex II | Pisgah Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Vortex IIVortex II
268 Ratings
Vortex IIVortex II

Brewed by:
Pisgah Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mikesgroove on 06-25-2007

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 268 |  Reviews: 149
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of bespin15
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of DrMindbender
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of Hacksaw34
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of Bmoyer0301
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of KFrank729
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.88/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, was finally able to get myself a bottle of the 2nd Vortex release. So thrilled to get this. Pisgah has to be my favorite localbrewery by far and they never seem to disapoint. Was able to get one of the misfit bottles with the upseide down label,LOL. Now onto the beer.

Poured a deep dark as night, engine oil black with a thick tan head that relinquished its grip on the glass only to be replaced by sticky gooey brown lace for the remainder of the session. Aroma was very pleasant, albeit I thought it would have been a bit more overpowering. Lots of chocolate and carmel tones with a hint of roasted coffee were reasily apparent, and even more so as it warmed.
First impresion on taste, was wow this was smooth. Coming at me at 11.7% if I did not know that coming in I never would have picked up on it. Lots of caramel and choclate were noticable, and the slight warming from the alcohol did manage to sneak up on me, but a hot one this was definatly not. Not the thickest feeling RIS but it really wasnt necassary as the flavor profile was big enough. Nice dry finish left me looking for more.
Overall this was excellent, and easily my second favorite offering from the boys, only outdone by Vortex 1, but thats only cause I am a hophed by hert. This is a fine brew and I can only hope the release some more as it could be the one that puts them on the map for sure!

 1,375 characters

Photo of drseamus
4.87/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black with a thin tan head. There was barely a pop on the opening of the cap.

S: DAMN!! Nice and sweet with great coffee and chocolate notes. Dark fruit, maybe plum, is in the background.

T: GODDAMN!! This is perfect. Smooth as silk. Chocolate and coffee, but no real fruit in the flavor. Crazy good.

M: So smooth. No alcohol present.

D: I could drink this all day. I would be wrecked but so very happy.

 414 characters

Photo of ncvbc
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a special moment for me. Not only because I'm drinking away the sorrows of Georgia losing to South Carolina this evening but because on a good note this is an amazing brew from my home state. I feel this balances my emotions between sorrow and triumph. The victory of defeat. Yep, Georgia lost tonight. They probably won't take down the SEC and my buddy from high school Ryan Succop put a dagger in our backs but what the hell, I just opened the Vortex II from Pisgah. I've read the reviews, I've seen the hype, and I'm ready to see if this brew lives up to it.

The pour. Black as night. A somewhat thin and tan head. Medium carbonation at first but lowering. I believe this beer is excited to get in my mouth.

First, though...the smell. Hmm, this one has similarities with a fellow in-state RIS, the Duck-Rabbit Rabid Duck. The distinctive quality that relates the two being the licorice that is abundant. Big roasted malts are also here in the smell. I pick up a nice dark coffee aroma and sweet, dark chocolate. Yummy.

Taste is exceptional. Mostly big and roasted coffee flavors with the dark chocolate again. Sweet and dark flavors abound here. The licorice is present again but on a smaller scale. This is great stuff. It's honestly a (big) step above Expedition Stout, which is (was) my present (past) favorite within the style. I'm truly amazed by this beer. Needless to say, it's ORGANIC!

Ideal mouthfeel. Holy crap. Pretty full. Creamy. Velvet. Silk. Slick. Slightest alcohol burn. Unbelievable.

WTF...this is 11.7%? Most drinkable RIS I've had to date with ease. Bear Republic's RIS was my former most drinkable, though after drinking this, even though it's about 3% more content, it's more drinkable.

My second and last bottle...I'm still in shock with this beer. Not an in-state bias or anything but this could be the greatest beer I've ever had along with Speedway Stout, regardless of score. It does an amazing job of concealing it's high ABV while providing an unbelievable amount of complexity. I could have three bombers of this in one evening if the supply was larger. Pisgah, you guys are amazing! I just listened to a recent PodCast with you guys and I can only pray that you start the can/bottle line soon enough. Cans from Pisgah? That would be the greatest miracle over here (and anywhere else that can grab some) for quite some time!

 2,374 characters

Photo of glid02
4.8/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on-tap at the brewery, this beer is about 4-5 months old at this point.

Pours black with a brown head that recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of chocolate covered cherries with good amounts of dark fruits - figs and plums, with roasted malt aromas lurking in the background.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Dark chocolate and a myriad of fruit flavors up front are backed up by thick roasted malt flavors. The fruit flavors are very well integrated and done such that the roasted malt and chocolate flavors still serve as a robust backbone.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a great thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I could drink this all day, regardless of whether or not that's a good idea.

Overall I enjoyed this much more the second time around. The flavors are better melded and more developed and the alcohol is barely noticeable. Definitely worth a shot.

 930 characters

Photo of wcudwight
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Black in color with a creamy tan colored head. Lace sticks to the sides of the glass in sheets.
Wonderful aroma of bakers chocolate and rich dark fruits.
The flavor leans heavily to dark fruits and has less roasted flavors than others of the style. I usually prefer my RISs to be heavily roasted, but I LOVE this one. Raisins, prunes, dates and blackberries. The blackberry flavor is pretty noticable and really makes this one stand out over a crowded and highly competitive RIS style. There's just enough roast and coffee to compliment the dark fruit and brown sugar flavors. This is one delicious beer and it's organic to boot.
Mouthfeel is good. It's rich, creamy, and smooth. I wish it was a bit fuller though.
11.7%? You have to be kidding me. There is no hint of that amount of alcohol. This one drinks as easy as an Oatmeal Porter.
Another fine beer from Pisgah!

 869 characters

Photo of Broanoke
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of taylorhamrick
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights straight from the bottle. In the glass it is pitch black, shiny with a huge brown head. The bubbles are loose and start to fall back moderately quickly, leaving some decent lacing. The smell is initially CO2, but then I get this deep, dark sweetness, mixed in with a light roast barley, coffee. There's also a tiny bit of esters with some dark fruits, vanilla, plums, tamarind. A very pleasant smell, but a bit subdued, if it were stronger, this would have everything in the smell. The taste is exceptional. Upfront, this has an intense profound, dark sweetness. I get loads of dark fruit, mixed with some caramel flavor on top, vanilla and plums like I said before, a tiny bit estery. A little bit of that great roasted taste, actually quite enough if you look for it. The yeast characteris really something too, a bit of the american ale, and a hint of some dark belgian ale yeast, bready and thick, with plenty of maltiness. Not a single off flavor, no burnt taste, no dryness, and the best part is that there isn't an overabundance of black malt, so it isn't too oily I barely detect the alcohol, but it warms my stomach up once its down. This strikes an amazing balance between the depth of flavor, sweetness, and high alcohol, it's like Sam Smith's version, but intensified and boosted up in alcohol. The sweetness gives it an amazingly thick and viscous feel. The carbonation is spot on. I just feels creamy and wonderful. This one is really, really a joy to drink. Nothing here that turns me off, and the alcohol of course can get you, but really on the great end of RIS drinkability. really a very great and classic interpretation on the style

 1,692 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of mynie
4.72/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Mad ups to marvin213 for supplying "the goods." I sampled a little bit of this at DLD and said it was nearly as good as Dark Lord and that it was a shame that it was so unknown. That was after I hadn't had any DL in over a year, mind, and once that vanilla bean goodness passed my lips I repented my blasphemy and swore to make things right with a proper review.

First of all, that's an awesome bottle right there. I smoked enough pot in high school to know the difference between good blacklight poster art and bad blacklight poster art. This is the good stuff. Maybe not sound in a hoity-toity artschool sense but really fun to look at while you're under the influence.

Pours nearly as good as Dark Lord. Dark, opaque blackness with a small and quickly dissolving head. Inky.

Smells rich, smooth, and wooden. Vinous tartness like a bright red wine, a surprising dose of west coast hops, and the comfortable burn of alcohol.

Tastes beery. That's a strange thing to say, I know, but usually RISes taste like wine or fruit or fire. This tastes like beer malt. That moves into a wine dark middle of fire and stout grain and it ends with a sour hoppiness that sticks in your mouth like gum on a shoe.

Nice. Underrated. Well worth seeking out.

 1,247 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazing RIS.
Poured black as used motor oil with that dark amber glow that used motor oil will have. Very, very thin head that disappears very quickly.

Aromas of dark roasted malt, dark bakers chocolate, dark vinous fruits with maybe some dark cherries. Alcohol isn't noticeable in the nose.

Flavor is intensely RIS. Dark sweetly roasted malts, deep, rich, Belgium chocolates, again, vinous fruits, black cherry and then finishing to black liquorice.

Aftertaste of liquorice and unsweetened chocolate with a definite chocolate warming as you swallow.

Absolutely delicious.

 587 characters

4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks go out to mikesgrooge for this fine brew.

Midnight black as this brew crawls out of the bottle settling in the glass letting absolutely no light through when held to light. Head is a quick fading inch and a half of carmel brown colored foam. Nose is wonderful with lots of rich coco, electric carmalixed malt and alchol soaked dark chocolate covered cherries. Smokey, creamy chocolate notes drinc the taste buds completely. As the beer warms more of a dark fruit complex develops. Along with the fruit a nice hop character is present on the backside of the palate adding balance to the smokey sweetness. Mouthfeel is rich, slightly thick and screams for the next mouthfull. This is an exceptional Imperial stout, well made all around. It is a shame more people cant try this one. A very sippable, drinkable brew.

 820 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours mahogany with a a finger of peach/brown colored head. Nice viscosity to this; good head retention & average lacing

S: Some coffee & dark fruit, plus chocolate once warm. Nose gets better as it warms

T: Coffee, dark chocolate, much dryness & a whisper of boozey warmth up front. Mocha & dryness dominate as this warms along with cherry, a touch of raisin & figs& even a bit of grape jelly?? Finishes dry with much dark fruit, rich dark chocolate & a kiss of molasses, brown sugar, & iron

MF: Chewy with moderate carbonation, some stickyness

Drinks a tad slow, due the complexity & but only just a touch. Another good big beer from Pisgah! Sure wish I'd bought a few more bottles of this when I was back in NC. This one I would probably would drink at above cellar temp if I get another bottle

 802 characters

Photo of LauraAlberts
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch Black - no light cast through - decent head retention for a RIS

Smell: Tobacco, Brown Sugar, Malt, Chocolate

Taste: Tobacco, Chocolate, expresso, coffee, vanilla bean, roasted nut, brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: smooth, soft, tannic

Drinkability: very smooth and drinkable - I probably couldn't have more than one. Great beer to share with friends. Amazing. I highly recommend.

 392 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pitch black beautiful pint of this truly awesome treat. A rich dark brown ½ inch head with heavy lacing filled my pint glass. Strong smells of rich coffee and deep roasted malt.

Tastes like heaven with a mouth feel that can only be described as a coffee-mocha milk shake. This beer tastes so good you just want to leave it in you mouth. The 11.7% is very well hidden by the God like taste. It is not until the second beer that you realize...wow, that beer has a punch. What a punch it is!

I have not had the opportunity to try FFF Dark Lord, but RIS is my favorite style and this is beyond a doubt the best RIS I have ever had. And for someone who has LOVED beer since the 7th grade, this maybe the best beer I have ever had!

 737 characters

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid dark pour, with a moderate tan head, serious legs on the edge, and definite lacing.

S - First big hit is brownie batter, followed by the strong burn of alcohol, and hints of both herbal hop notes and savory soy umami. Lovely.

T - Front is sweet and full of dark chocolate flavor. The middle brings roast flavors, which turn toward bitterness in the close.

M - Brisk carbonation and full, lush feeling. Mild drying in the close.

O - Great nose and flavor, excellent RIS with delicious chocolate core.

 516 characters

Photo of NastyNate11
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of klipper
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Ngntjp
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Vortex II from Pisgah Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 268 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.