Vortex II | Pisgah Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
88
very good
268 Ratings
Vortex IIVortex II
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
268
Reviews:
149
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
12.81%
 
 
Wants:
127
Gots:
29
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 268 |  Reviews: 149
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh from Bruisin' Ales. Pours black and some white head. Aroma is pleasant roasty and malty. Taste is very sugary, this is like a milk stout, a sweet stout only somewhat better. I managed to drink the bomber, it is drinkable and pleasant enough. Some chocolate and one sip seemed coffee. This is sugar cup of coffee, and how many cups can I drink? Sorry Ashville, I have had thicker mouthfeel, creamier, more chocolate,less sweet to go gah gah on this local.Dramatically overrated.

 483 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

Bottled 9/2012.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, char, and slight smoke aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and slight smoke flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice subtle smoke qualities in the aroma and flavor.

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Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a rocky head that sticks well and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Espresso, dark chocolate, tobacco and licorice

Taste: Opens with an incredibly dense, licorice and dark fruit filled chocolate flavor that builds, in a fruity direction, by mid-palate; after the swallow, the dark fruit intensity is joined by some hoppy bitterness that lingers for quite some time

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous; withe moderate carbonation; considerable warmth in the gullet on the way down

Drinkability: Still a bit young (drink by 2018!) but the alcoholic warmth should fade somewhat as it ages; nevertheless, quite an accomplishment

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of mothman
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mikesgrove for this one.

Batch 1 from 2006

Pours a 1/2 finger of fizzy tan head. Fades down quickly. No lace. Color is a dark dark brown, basically black.

Aroma: Kind of a let down here. Light chocolate and light roasted malts. Has a musky lemon aroma. Not what I was expecting.

Taste: Very light flavored ris. Has a lemon acidic taste to it. Chocolate, but very light. A little booze. Slight coffee. Roasted malts. All so light.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and acidic. A little boozy. Full bodied with a lower level of carbonation. Leaves a smoked malt aftertaste.

Overall, I was really excited to try this beer, but I am a little bit let down. Definitily not something to let sit, which is weird for an RIS. I will try a fresh bottle and re-evaluate it.

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Photo of DrBier
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
2.35/5  rDev -41%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Botteled 2009.
Probably the best infected beer I have ever had.

Look great, sparkning like hell and from there it is a sour treat with some raspberrys mixed with some cherries in coffee.
To bad this is not the what the beer is all about.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bmanning for opening this up at a recent tasting.

A: Pours a very dark brown with some mahogany hues to it. Nice off-white head.

S: Nice chocolate flavors really come through alongside a bit of coffee. Good notes of slightly-burnt caramel and roasted malts.

T: Much like the smell, with some dark dates and brown sugar coming through as well.

M: Medium body with good carbonation.

D: Very nice stout. I haven't had many things from Pisgah, but I'd love to get down and visit given their reputation and the overall beer scence in Asheville.

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Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A full pint served at the brewery.

Pours nearly black with a dark tan head.
Sweet aroma with only a hint of alcohol; the high ABV is also very well hidden in the flavor. Some dark fruit in the taste; more in the nose. Plenty of dark roasted malt but only mid-taste on. Good sweet-bitter balance.

M: medium-full body with medium, low carbonation.

O: recommended

(Revised and adjusted with tasting at brewery in June 2013)

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 0z. bottle. Plain cap. Really nice label. Bottle-conditioned and organic.

Chocolate aromas rise out of the glass as you pour it, backed by notes of coffee. The body is about as black-opaque as you can get, and only a thin thread of deep mahogany brown slips out at the base of the glass. The head rises up to a two-finger thick head, and then slowly compacts. It's dark tan and frothy, with some big bubbles still showing. A short 'mountain range' of lace is formed as the head falls, but unfortunately that initial clinginess fails as it goes and you're left with a thick splashy ring that was formed at the outset and then nothing much else.

The aroma is quite "mocha java' - and quite pleasantly 'chocolate-with-a-sweet-edge', and softly coffee-ish and nutty.

The flavor follows suit, and it's also a caramelish and toffee-like with a drizzle of butter. A bit like fudge as well. Nice! The dark malt acidity keeps it from becoming a hint too sweet at the start of the mouth; and then it warms to reveal its nutty and coffee-like notes across the middle as the moderate, stiff bitterness rises. Grassy hops flitter to and fro here and there, and all of those things fall together in a kind of sloppy finish in the end that has both its sweet points and its dry points. What you're left with is lingering caramel and coffee, which is not bad, and a smattering of grassy hop flavors that give it a little bit more character and balance it a bit.

Nicely done. And organic!!! Worth trying!

Overall, I find it really interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of jlindros
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one has been staring me in the face for a while, and I finally decided to crack it. THanks to womencantsail for this one.

It pours a very dark thick and frothy head with some large bubbles in the middle popping their way at a medium pace, then slowing as the big bubbles disappear. It leaves a nice thick lacing on the sides as well. THe beer is basically pitch black, it doesn't look super thick, but very dark it is.

The nose brings lots of nice dark malts. Plenty of roasted barley, some cocoa nibs and dark chocolate, bitter super dark chocolate cocoa powder, loaded with dark chocolate actually. Some oatmeal and creamy milk chocolate. A very light sweet malt, but at the same time a dry Irish stout like aroma. A slight roasty malt bitterness, and hints of Irish yeast spicy fruit aromas. It has a very slight sour fruit aroma as well, well not quite sour, more like super over-ripe.

The taste starts with lots of dark malts, heavy dark malts. It has some black patent malt, some roasted barley, a little chocolate malt, a lot less chocolate now. Some bitter roasted malt, some earthy super concentrated dark chocolate and bakers chocolate, but not much. A slight syrupy caramel, but not much of that either. A slight rich creamy malt and chocolate, slight oatmeal. Also that over ripe fruit flavor that sometimes comes from a RIS, I'm not exactly sure where it comes from, but it's there, I actually think it's from the burnt malts. Speaking of which, some burnt malt flavors, and a burnt coffee flavor too. Some dry Irish yeast like flavors, a little but of the spicy yeast finish as well. It dries off on the finish, more so than it started which was pretty dry. It starts to almost pull the moisture from my mouth as it finishes, with a lingering sticky mouth coating syrup. More lingering roast and dark malts, and more of the slight tangy acidic fruit and burnt coffee malts.

The mouth is creamy and rich, and full bodied but not quite as much as I expected it to be, with good carbonation.

Well, it has a good drinkability for the booze, it drinks more like a 7-8%, not 11.7%, very smooth and drinkable, but the supr dry finish combined with the syrupy mouth coating makes it a little iffy.

This started off very nice, great appearance, pretty good nose, the taste started good, but then fell off quickly, too much of the burnt coffee rinds and tangy acidic fruit. Otherwise a nice beer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

January 2009 release acquired from mikesgroove courtesy of the Little Guy 2 BIF, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large foamy beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma dark fruit, licorice, roasted malts, some chocolate, some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with a hearty roasted malt character followed by some flavors of licorice, dark fruit, chocolate and coffee. There’s a mild hops presence but not much balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, decent representation of style, there are definitely several other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of Kegatron
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. 2009 bottling, which I believe was supposed to be infected.

Pours black with a finger of rich dark mocha head. This maintains some thin creamy froth that dots the sides of the glass with robust swathes of lacing. The aroma has quite a bit of dark fruit going on, along with notes of roasted coffee, tangy caramel, cocoa, and light earthy citrus. This has got some flavor but they aren’t exactly blowing up in the nose.

The taste is more dark fruit and a flush of roast across the back. Chocolate sweetness hangs on the edges and I’m even getting a little bit of leftover citric fruit here, although the hops seem overall pretty faded at this point. That dark fruit flavor just dominates this and is what mostly hangs in the finish, with a tart pithiness that lingers. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a firm creaminess that expands outward into the mouth. There is maybe just a touch of warmth to this but man; this is unbelievably smooth for an 11% beer. I guess the age has done this some good.

Well if this was infected, it was one of the better infections in a beer that I tasted. I find it hard to believe that an Imperial Stout could have THAT much dark fruit character, even if some age had exacerbated that particular characteristic. But anyway, the extra tart dark fruitiness of this actually didn’t really turn me off from this as much as I thought it would, as this overall came off to me like an Imperialized version of a Cherry Stout. I do have to give respect to the smooth drinking nature of this for the size though. Just crazy. Anyway, if you have any left in the cellar, I’d say that they are actually still drinkable to a point but I know that I’ll be seeking out another vintage of this down the line to get the full Vortex II experience.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nearly opague, black body with a thin, fizzy tan head.

Smell: Roasty, creamy aroma of dark malts, bittersweet chocolate, and even some licorice root.

Taste: Strong, flavorful espresso with sweet, dark toffee and hunks of bakers chocolate. Its really got a raw, earthy naunce to it, especially as hints of licorice and chicory emerge on the smooth, roasty finish. I gotta say I didn't notice the alcohol and had no idea it was supposed to be dramatic 11.7%. I'm blown away!

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Low carbonation. Luscious, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I know, I have within me the power to just say "no thanks, I don't think I'll have that second helping of Pisgah Vortex II", but I mean, when you're in this person's house for as long as I am, with no real breaks, and you can't go home to spend time with loved ones, and you can't play Super Castlevania for the SNES, it is awfully hard to simply turn away from the only available source of pleasure.

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Photo of russpowell
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
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

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Vortex II from Pisgah Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 268 ratings.
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