Old Growth Imperial Stout | Caldera Brewing Company

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
79 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Old Growth Imperial StoutOld Growth Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Caldera Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
calderabrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by freed on 03-01-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
79
Ratings:
201
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
9.05%
 
 
Wants:
35
Gots:
38
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 201
Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a small but dense light brown head. Retention is good, despite the tiny head. Leaves nice lines of lacing all over the glass.

S: Lots of roasted malt char. A bit of coffee and chocolate as well. Black licorice is fairly prominent. Touch of caramel?

T: Up front, nice roasted malt and chocolate. Lots of licorice in there, through the middle. Coffee kicks in the aftertaste and carries into the lingering bitter finish.

M: Medium-heavy body, fairly smooth and enjoyable.

O: A nice tasty RIS for sure. This one is quite heavy on the licorice. Not overpowering but it's a prominent flavor unlike any other big stout I've had. Unique and tasty.

 666 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2011 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a very dark red brown, appearing black in the glass. Thin dark tan head and some light lacing. Sweet and roasted malt, honey and slight floral notes to aroma. Taste follows with sweet and roasted malts, a mellow sweetness followed by coffee and chocolate notes, finishes with a mixure of dry and sweet, hop bitterness, light woody finish. Nicely integrated.

 428 characters

Photo of nickfromsacto
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had Pliny the younger, elder, Parabola and old growth in one night. Younger lived up to the hype. Parabola and elder are staple favorites (always good). Amongst these behemoths Old growth not only surpassed my expectations but set a bar for (none Deschutes, Hair of the dog & Rogue) Oregon beers. Thanks random beershop dude in Seattle. 

The head is nothing worth bragging about nor is the typical black body of most imperial stouts. The head lingers for a while as you smell some chocolate and roastyness. A few hints of cocoa and fig are mixed with smooth alcohol tones. The mouthfeel is incredible, a nice full body that does not overwhelm the other senses. Perhaps the best beer find durring my trip. Worth the ten bucks for this rare aged beer.

 753 characters

Photo of TheBeerologist
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe glass

Pours a translucent black with a thin tan/light brown head - seems a little light for an RIS but looks nice. Smelled of roasted malts and slightly of chocolate. The aroma though was nicely balanced and left me excited to have a sip. This beer tastes perfectly roasted and not to sweet (which is great to me). Well balanced vanilla up front with chocolate notes to finish. It was lightly carbonated and a little dry. Overall this was a light and pleasant RIS to sip on with very well balanced flavors - I will definitely be looking to get more next time I pick this one up.

 624 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tulip glass. Thanks to spry for this.

A: Pours black with a cap of dark brown head. Pretty good retention but minimal lacing.

S: Sweet, creamy roasted malt, and dark fruits (blackcurrant, licorice). Quite nice.

T: Roasted malts, dark coffee, and a soupcon of licorice which comes to the surface only briefly. Finishes with some moderately bitter espresso (slightly harsh).

M: Light carbonation, full body.

O: Pretty good. Licorice makes for a pleasant, fruity nose. I wish more had come through on the palate.

 514 characters

Photo of billab914
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery snifter. It poured black in color with a thin, frothy tan head barely covering the top.

The aroma shows a mix of chocolate and roasted malts with a little bit of the vanilla and licorice coming out. Pretty nice aroma to it, very flavorful and it came together well.

The taste shows more of the sweeter chocolate and licorice to it up front. Towards the finish the roasted, bitter malts start to take over with some strong coffee notes to it.

The mouthfeel is heavy with carbonation being a little below average. Overall it was a very good beer. It had some bold flavors but they came together well. Very enjoyable beer overall.

 674 characters

Photo of nsabo
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is not a heavy or chewy imperial stout (which is what I usually look for in a RIS), but the mouthfeel still feels hearty. It’s quite roasted, not burnt, just a damn smooth, no booze heat, well done roast. Reminds me a lot of Grand Teton’s Black Cauldron (which happens to have nearly the same under 9% ABV). The nose is coffee and graham crackers. Despite the label's indication of licorice, I'm not picking up on it much at all.

 438 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Pours an oily black with a small tan colored head on top. Decent retention, slowly reducing to a ring around the top. Sporadic lacing.

S: Earthy with some chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. There is a little bit of wood and a vanilla.

T: The flavor profile starts off with some roasted dark malt, then some mocha, a combination of chocolate and coffee.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Rather smooth and easy drinking. Slightly bitter finish.

O: Was skeptical at first, since I didn't even know that Caldera bottled their beer, but this was a solid RIS. Would be awesome if they canned it.

 632 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big black. Nice medium brown head. Nice lace. Big roast, coffee and chocolate hints. BIG roast, BIG chocolate and a hint of coffee. Slight alcohol, but barely noticeable. Creamy feel, full bodied. I don’t really get any licorice, but this is a great stout nonetheless.

 270 characters

Photo of rtaps
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to mrvonzipper for opening and share a bottle.

pours an oil black with a half finger brown head leaving a laced rim around the glass.

roasted nuts, mild tobacco, dark chocolate, and licorice, nice earthy aroma here

follows the nose, it's earthy and tobacco type kick to it, coffee and licorice also found here.

full bodied, light-medium carbonation dry mouth viscous.

overall an enjoyable stout not sweet like most RIS so it's different but its enjoyable

 466 characters

Photo of suncrust
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured to a snifter.

A- Pours like a thick motor oil. Ebony tint with a tiny ring of mahogany soap on the brim, otherwise virtually no head. Zero lacing.

S- Dark licorice aromas with a little tobacco, smokey char, and a slight bit of alcohol on the tail. Strong undertones of molasses and sticky dark fruit round out the nose.

T- A bursting blend of licorice, dark baker's chocolate, burnt sugar (almost creme brulee crust...) with a dominate raw tobacco character. Followed shortly by an intricate smokey char that is kindly humble and not overpowering as it goes down. Balances well with the moderate roasted coffee tones and woody cedar characters that hit mid-palette. It got more aggressive in flavor as it warmed, but for the most part I found the taste to be balanced and smooth.

MF- Smooth, velvety and soft. Lower on the carbonation with a slightly soapy feeling in the throat and a lighter dry coffee astringency on the tongue.

Overall a nicely crafted, smooth stout. The char and tobacco characters really highlighted the complexity of this beer for me. Pretty good.

 1,094 characters

Photo of dc55110
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade with ArchEnemyBrew.

Pours a deep black, with a quickly fading mahogany head.

The aroma is full of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, hits of dark fruit and just a bit of alcohol.

The flavors delivered are lockstep with the nose. Full of roasted malts, almost a slight smokiness. Bitter dark chocolate, with out being off-putting. All rounded out with the slight sweetness of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig.

The mouth is a little thinner that every other part of this brew would lead you to believe. It's not watery, but just slightly lacking. I prefer a RIS to coat a bit.

This is really good RIS. I didn't have any idea of what to expect when I opened this one up. I was pleasantly surprised with what this brew delivered. Other than being slightly thin, the look, aroma and flavors are all what you want in a solid RIS!

 844 characters

Photo of snaotheus
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split into two large snifters

Pours black with no head. Tiny quantities of bubbles drifting along in a lonely fashion. Smells like licorice and liquor.

Taste is very pleasing. Licorice and coffee roasty malts mix together with some bitter burnt toast and nice malty sweetness for a very nice flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick, a little gritty, slightly dry. Overall, forgiven for apparent flatness. It's good.

 417 characters

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thinner well retained deep mocha colored head,even when held to the light there isnt much to be seen thru the glass.Molasses and dark fruit dominate the nose along with dark coffee roast.Heavy roast and molasses flavors at the onset when the dark fruit comes into play,a big earthy almost raw finish.This is a nice American impy stout,a little raw with full flavor packed in.

 398 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from the Nashvillian, cheers John!

Pours ebony with less than a pinky of mocha colored head.Near zero head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, & a touch of Bourbon once warm

T: Follows the nose, plus some herbal & woody hop notes, charred grain & dryness up front. More charred grain & Baker's chocolate as this warms. Finishes with a nice chocolate sweetness, herbal hops, a bit vanilla & more charred grain

MF: Chewy, oily, subtle carbonation

A nice Imp Stout, didn't quite come together for perfection, but a solid offering

 562 characters

Photo of julian
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mud black with a thick & frothy tan leather colored head. Retention is pretty good. It dwindles after a few minutes and leaves a beautiful bright tan ring of foam around the edges with some loose bubbles.

S: Smell is dark fruit, brown sugar, light roast, mild chocolate, and some light neutral hop bittering.

T: Taste follows the aroma. Roast and bittering up front, some dark fruit to wrap it all together with a bit of brown sugar malt sweetness. Medium body, clean finish.

O: Good overall, RIS. Well crafted. Awesome appearance, good all around taste. Would purchase again.

 582 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a medium frothy tan head, good retention, solid lace.

S: Dark chocolate with some creaminess and roast.

T: Dark chocolate flavours dominate with a hint of coffee. Some sweet malt, but stays balanced with a solid hit of hops on the back end. Never overly burnt which is as it should be in an RIS.

M: Full-bodied and very smooth, soft easy carbonation. Elegant.

O: This is classic American made RIS style beer to a T. It's weird, it seems the regular RIS is going away, everything has to be barrel aged or have some adjunct added to it. That's all well and good. But sometimes you just want a big straight up stout and this delivers. $10 for the bomber is pricey, but it's a great beer, definitely the best I've had from Caldera.

 767 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a 3 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a small cap. A nice latticework of lacing forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, and alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and cocoa powder. A mild roasty bitterness sticks around after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good RIS with a nice balance of aromas and flavors. This one took me by surprise.

 509 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Imperial stout = dark beer, no different here, its black. Foam about 3/4" deep, tan, light brown colored, hits the bricks right quick sucka.

Coffee absent in the aroma, otherwise, chocolate malt, light boozy in a good way, warming, hides abv relatively well, no coffee to it still on the mouthfeel. Sticky, bitter, low carbonation. About 1/100th of the smoke they put in rauch ur bock. Plenty chewy. Maybe some licorice.

Pretty good stuff. What a bummer mine followed a Mogli. Tough act to follow, but would not heitate to recommend this beer, just like 99% of the rest of Caldera's stuff.

 592 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with 1/2" of foamy, brown head. Great retention. Smells of roasted malts, a little coffee, and a little chocolate. Taste is similar to the nose in some respects but far more complex. Deep roasted malts and hint of coffee up front followed by a rich chocolatiness in the finish; just a hint of alcohol esters in there as well. A few more sips reveals a little toffee and some dark fruits; alcohol becomes more prevalent as the beer warms but doesn't detract from the flavor or drinkability. Mouthfeel is smooth, rich, and surprisingly, dangerously drinkable.

 575 characters

Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8.8% abv.

A: Black with a tan head, ring of retention leaves a little lace.

S: Light licorice, black strap molasses, black berry and hints of biscuit & nuts.

T: Pleasant licorice flavour that's not overdone, allowing some other flavours to come through: black strap molasses, woody/oak, cocoa, light pepper, caramalized raisins, hints of coffee and rum. There's some underlying cola and sasparilla flavour as well. Alcohol is subtle.

M: Moderate to full body has a light residual sweetness with a slightly drying finish.

D/O: It drinks well, and I wouldn't have guessed it was that strong. Well crafted and an all around good brew. The flavours really compliment one-another... the more I drink it, the more I dig it... which says a lot for a big brew!

 758 characters

Photo of jeff1973
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

A - Opaque black. Nothing getting thru, not even on the edges. Dark biege head, good lacing.

S - Roasted malt. A slight smokiness. A little bit of dark chocolate and a little licorice.

T - Bitter chocolate upfront turns to slightly smokey. Leaves a bit of licorice flavor for the end. Not an overpowering licorice flavor, just a hint to make you want more.

M - Medium carbonation produces a not quite smooth feel. Is almost smooth a description? It works either way. Leaves a slight tingle afterwards that works with the licorice aftertaste.

D - Definitely a sipper. Has a thicker mouthfeel that doesn't allow gulping. With the 8.8%ABV, really tastes almost no alcohol.

Great beer. Period.

 735 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Founders tulip...

I love everything from these guys and I've read good things about this brew so I'm excited to get to try it...

Huge pungent wallop of dark strong coffee, cocoa nibs, hints of licorice and perhaps a little citric hop as well... Holy smokes...this smells terrific...I'm a bit taken shocked that this is so dark and rich smelling... World class...

Rich deep smooth smokiness mingles with dark bitter chocolate and licorice... The smoky aspects of this set this one apart from others of the style and have me hooked... There's also a big hop presence to this that has me thinking chocolate covered orange or something of that nature.. One thing that I'm really digging is the lack of sheer alcohol present here both in the ABV and the flavor... It's nice to be able to drink the whole bomber and not be blurry at the end...

This is a world class RIS in my opinion... I could expound with adjectives and adverbs and all the fluff but I'll say its one of the most enjoyable drinking experiences I've had... Not over the top in any way... Delicious and expertly crafted...

 1,103 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma is absolutely heavenly - smoky with firm tones of quality coffee, molasses and sweet chocolate and a hint of licorice. It pours a deep, rich, warm opaque sable with a thick dark tan head that leaves some good lacing. Mouth filling flavor has a decided mocha core, quality coffee and chocolate plus licorice, molasses and even a bit of hoppy bitterness. Smooth flavor has a firm and biting fizz, and it leaves a smoky, slightly bitter, tingly finish. If ever you are in Oregon, grab a bottle - or better yet, grab two or three so you have something to trade.

 563 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle split with oglmcdgl.

Old Growth in the Duvel tulip appears black in color with a firm inch of tan/khaki colored foam that is dense and leaves some spots, great retention.

Smell is ridiculous in the malt category, roasted malt on top of char, some faint dark fruits and some aroma hops. Licorice and anise make up the rest of the smell.

Not so over the top, a very well balanced stout with a mix of roast on top of a bed of dark fruit, chocolate chips, anise and of course licorice. Faint vanilla bean and just good beer here.

Feel is semi sticky full and not hot. It's not the biggest stout out there at almost 9% and I like that, to many 13 percenters that go overboard. Carb is there and not so intruding. Chewy.

This is a kick ass stout. I wanted to see what Caldera could do on their dark offerings as their light ones are top notch and this did not dissapoint.

 879 characters

Old Growth Imperial Stout from Caldera Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 201 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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

    Subscribe