Russian Roulette | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

19 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rye726 on 10-25-2008

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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 98
Photo of TheBrewo
3.88/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer was served on tap at Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Arriving in a house tulip, it glared a jet black coloring, with mesmerizing blueish undertones. A one and a half finger tall head of espresso bubbles retained decently, leaving finite specks of lacing around our glass. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be light. The aroma was dark and dense, featuring chocolate and black roasted malt, raw barley, sweet and tannic toffee sugars, soy sauce, tobacco leafiness, dark chocolate flakes, chocolate syrup, further bittered cacao nibs, dried nori, candy corn, chalk, hints of phenolic clove and medicinals, hot booze, biscuity sweetness, maraschino cherry, milky lactics, honey, and Tootsie Roll candies. The flavoring gave notes of rich roasty chocolate and coffee malts, soy sauce saltiness, floury biscuits, toffees, plum and black cherry fruity sweetness, rose petal florals, raw Nestle Quick powders, cardboard, bittered dark chocolate, milked espresso, liquid caramel and raw honey, booze, and white vinegar sourness. The body was full and chewy, and the carbonation was medium. Slurp and smack were excellently thick and present, with milder cream and froth on the swirl around the mouth. Finishing pop was crisp and pleasant. The mouth was otherwise met with chalky and boozy dryness. The abv was appropriate, and the beer sipped away with ease.

Overall, while this is no shot of whisky out of a cow femur (which we enjoyed at another local establishment last night), this was arguably one of the better stouty beers from our three to four visits to Town Hall Brewery over the course of our stay in the Twin Cities. This beer takes the Russian imperial to a different level with gregarious addition of sweeter chocolates and lighter chocolate maltiness, to make it more akin to its milk/sweet stout brethren. Nothing was lost in fullness through the feel, but the extra sugars and chocolate helped a bit to mask big Russian booziness and dank soy sauce oiliness. The former made the most lasting impression on these two drinkers. You can almost get this gritty powdered chocolate vibe to it as you drink it. All that said, Russian Roulette will absolutely keep you as warm as you desire on a frigid Minnesotan evening.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap at the brewpub. Served in a Town Hall Chalice glass.

Appearance: Color is a near pitch black. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of tan head that slowly recede into a thinner creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: A very roasty and sweet dark malt forward aroma with big hints of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Dark roasted barley malt with a huge scent of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee beans, vanilla, and cream along with some hints of burnt toast, biscuit, caramel, and yeast. Subtle hints of dark fruit with some cherry, raisin, and plum. Sweet scent of molasses. Also some slight hints of oak. Hops are pretty faint. A very good smell.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely rich and roasty dark malt driven taste with a big presence of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Upfront dark roasted barley malt with a big taste of chocolate that literally tastes like a liquid dark chocolate bar. Also some good notes of coffee beans, vanilla, cream, toast, caramel, oak, and yeast. Sweet taste of burnt molasses. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of raisin, cherry, and plum. Hops are pretty light. A really good robust taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and fairly syrupy. Sweet but not quite cloying. Alcohol is masked pretty well.

Overall: A really great take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Great taste of chocolate and other roasty notes. Big and sweet but still smooth enough to get down.

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Photo of MCImes
3.28/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I know this beer gets a lot of love around here, but it doesnt do it for me.

It looks like a RIS should. Nice and black, not much head.

It smells good, the usual dark fruits, coffee, roast malt, booze.

The taste however was far too sweet for my liking. The overall flavor is good, but I couldnt take the sweetness and thick body as a result of that residual sugar. I like imperial stouts in general, but this didnt do it for me.

Mouth feel was thick, not in a good way. I like thick beers (KBS, BCBS, BA9k ect), but this was too much for me. I think it is because the sugar seems to create the thickness in this beer as opposed to a ton of malt like some others.

Overall I actually hate to say I didnt really like this. I know a ton of people love it and Town Hall nails their beers consistently, but this one isnt for me. That said, I suggest you try it, because I am in the minority with this opinion, and odds would say that you'll love it!

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Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark black with a long lasting tan head that slowly settled to a thin cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma is full of chocolate and dark malt aromas. Not terribly complex but cannot really get to indepth at the bar.

Impressive flavor for chocolate and malt flavors. A little roast and licorice. Notes of vanilla as well. Some alcohol is detected in the flavor. Excellent big stout flavors.

Big body and smoothly carbonated. Wonderful texture.

Sort of reminds me of Expedition Stout that is not nearly as hot. Town Hall should always have one of their wonderful RIS on-tap all the time. They do them very well.

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Photo of Philly82785
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a black as night, minimal amount of frothy tan head with moderate lacing.

S- Huge chocolate aroma, dark roasted malt, & a bittersweet aroma.

T- True a chocolate delight, roasted malts, dark chocolate, rich vanilla flavor, & a slight coffee undertone.

M- Thick & meaty, well carbonated, really smooth and creamy, rich flavors flow across the palate, with an excellent finish.

O- Amazing beer, I really enjoyed this chocobomb. It was my first trip to Town Hall. Needless to say I'll be back plenty. I'll probably be back before then end of the week to catch another pour.

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Photo of scoand
4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow haven't reviewed in a while but when MTH is this close..

A: black w/ think cream head that dissipates to just a fine film on the glass.
S: roasted malt, chocolate (more coco than milk)
T: chocolate in the front, vanilla, oak?, wait, no that's the malt character.
M: creamy, medium mouth, dry coco finish.
O: Freaking delicious. Big choco bomb up front but really is balanced over. Sweet but not cloying with a dryer finish that makes me want to keep taking more.

Imma finna polish off the rest of this keg tonight.

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Photo of PieOhMy
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into tulip.

A. Black. Half inch dark brown foam that fades fast. Pencil thin lacing remains down the glass.

S. Vanilla. Toasted malts. Cream. Chocolate.

T. Mimics smell at first. Like a vanilla milkshake. Followed by a hit of dark chocolate. Big blast of coffee in the end.

M Full. As mentioned, like a milkshake. Creamy. Thick as hell but really smooth.

O Awesome Imperial stout. Not boozy. Smooth, layered and complex, delicious. One of the best of the style I've ever had.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Alex for the growler share. Tasted on 8/20/11

A - jet black, thick, oily with a smattering of bubbles from the pour.

S - Delicious chocolate fills the tulip, but that's about it. I'd normally knock a beer for being so one note, but the chocolate nose was just incredible. As it warmed in my glass, it opened up to a little bit of caramel and fig, but the chocolate dominates.

T - Sweet, sweet sweet. But this is how I like my RIS. Interestingly, there was little roast on the nose, but there is a subtle bitterness to finish the beer. Still left a creamy sweetness, but not cloying in the least.

M - Light carb, very full-bodied and incredibly creamy. No alcohol detected whatsoever. Just fantastic.

O - Best chocolate bomb I've had. Lacks the complexity of some other world class RISes, but for what it attempts to be, it is a big big winner. Had multiple tastes throughout the night and this was one of the highlights for me.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Alex for hooking up the growler share.

A - Black beer, bit of a brown head that settled down to a nice ring.

S - Big chocolate, nice roast, little bit of nutty smell, some vanilla. The chocolate is quite decadent and rich, not real subtle, but smells very appealing.

T - Big, sweet chocolate. There's some vanilla, a bit of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and just a touch of oak.

M - Creamy, lower carbonation, full bodied.

O - Really good beer for something with this much chocolate. I'm not usually a fan of the sweet stuff but this was a nice beer. The addition of the chocolate was a nice plus to something that was already quite good.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cool Stone growler provided by Alex. Thank you, sir!

A - Pours black, slight bubbly carbonation, thin ring, some whisps on top.

S - Belgian chocolate syrup, burnt sugars, slight roast, creamy vanilla. Lots of chocolate that overtakes just about everything else...for the good. Very rich and enjoyable.

T - Pretty similar to the nose. Big chocolate, sugars, creamy vanilla, slight oak. Just a huge dose of rich creamy chocolate. The alcohol is basically non-existant...very nice. Rich creamy sweet finish.

M - Full, slight carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Excellent beer. If you're looking for a chocolate overdose, this is the beer for you. This beer was a hugely enjoyable right after the crash and burn that was Monsieur Zhukov. Get this.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Stone growler purchased at Great Taste of the Midwest after numerous 5oz pours. Served in a Heady Topper glass.

A - A thin tan foam settles to some wisps and a thick collar. Not much in the way of lace. Body is pitch black.

S - Belgian chocolate, roasted grains, cake, dough, a touch of yeast, and absolutely no perceptible alcohol. The addition of Belgian chocolate to Ol' Jack Frost has largely obliterated the subtleties of the base beer, but this is still quite good.

T - Taste is actually better in my book. Reminds me of Nestle Quik a little bit - just massive amounts of delicious milk chocolate. There are some other stout flavors in periphery, roasted malts, caramel, dark fruits, etc. but this is pretty much a chocolate bomb.

M - Feel is a huge improvement over the base beer. I could literally feel melted chocolate on my tongue as I drank this beer. Carbonation is lower, but style-appropriate. Nice sticky medium-full body. I can't imagine how the feel could suit the flavors any better.

D - If you like chocolate, this is the beer for your. A great take on an already great beer. I kept returning to the growler throughout the evening - there are probably a gazillion calories in this though, so I better get to the gym today.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at The Great Taste of the Midwest 2011. 5 oz pour into a tasting glass.

A- Pours a pitch black opaque color, one finger frothy tan head that stays around for a while, moderate lacing on the side.
S- Big big chocolate aroma, dark roasted malt, bittersweet aroma, slight vanilla.
T- I love this beer, so tasty, chocolate delight, roasted malts, dark Belgium chocolate, rich vanilla flavor, slight coffee presence, followed by a hint of dark fruits (plums).
M- Big mouth feel, well carbonated, really smooth and creamy, rich flavors that coat the palate, really nice aftertaste.
O- Loved this beer, again another one that I should have had more pours of but due to the variety of options at the festival I had to move on. I look forward to drinking this again whenever Town Hall busts it out.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.89/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap last night at the brewery. Extremely suprised to see it there since I've never had it before. I had two 10oz glasses of this glorious brew:

A - Light Khaki head that dissipates into thin ring around the edge. Murky bubbles in the center. Black as night.

S - Hersey and reese's peanut butter cups! Chocolate and vanilla. Roast and cream. Peanut butter. Awesome!

T - Incredible! It really tastes like a reese's cup! Loads of chocolate and candy sweetness. Truly an amazing flavor!

M - Creamy and smooth. Perfect carbonation. Light, not so thick, but this is not offensive.

D - Incredibly awesome! Liquid chocolate and peanut butter. 9.3% nothing. I could mix this with my cereal! Amazing stuff and I have to say it is my favorite stout to date. A must try brew.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Hopped in hoping to have another Coconut Jack Frost but they had run out that day. In its place though was Russian Roulette! A RIS made with Belgian chocolate. Poured a pitch black color in a 10oz glass with a slight dark tan head. Aroma is of the chocolate first and foremost followed by the dark roasted malt aroma. The taste is dark, bittersweet chocolate that starts of sweet and transitions to a slightly bitter ending. Very smooth drinking. Medium to heavy mouthfeel.

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Photo of mothman
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had two goblets of this at Town Hall the other day.

1/2 finger of thick tan head. Very dark head. Fades to a thin layer but leaves some thick lace. Had head for the duration of the beer. Color is a motor oil black.

Aroma: A healthy dose of the Belgian Chocolate shines through. This beer is roasted with some dark fruit and licorice notes. A little vanilla here as well. A very big aroma from this one.

Taste: Well, I definitely like this more than Ol' Jack Frost. The Belgian chocolate adds a nice layer to this beer. Rich vanilla comes out here with some caramel. Then a does of molasses and licorice hit with some dark fruits. Lots of roasted malts in the finish with some coffee coming through. Very well deserving 5.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich, creamy, and above all, velvety. Full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. Ends rich and sweet with a nice amount of roasted malts.

Overall, this beer is amazing. I know it is just Ol' Jack Frost infused with Belgian Chocolate, but the chocolate really adds something magical to this beer. It really adds a nice layer of complexity to an already complex beer. Very drinkable. Had two goblets in the afternoon and one later in the evening.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm usually very good about logging reviews immediately, but when it comes to Town Hall they change their beers so often that I fall behind. Here is my backlog of napkin reviews stuffed in the back of my desk drawer.

No date, my best guess is early August.

Dark black opaque with dark brown head. Great retention and great lacing. 4.0

Complex notes of dark bakers chocolate and milk chocolate, big roasted malts, sweet yet bitter. 5.0

Taste is a rush or chocolate and deep roasted malts. Complex and extremely tasty. 4.5

Thick and creamy, smooth and rich. 4.0

Amazing drinkability, gone too fast. 4.5

Overall, a great beer that I wish was brewed more regularly.

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Photo of Deuane
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep, dark brown/black with a thick, well-retaining tan head. Head left caking lace.

S-Roasted malt, toasted biscuit and deep, earthy dark chocolate. A bit of smokiness and oak in the background.

T-Deep roasted malt flavours with a battle royal of sweet/bitter chocolate and earthy, smoky notes. This one was very complex and got better and better as it warmed. Oak and vanilla notes sneak in at the edges.

M-Medium-heavy bodied with a luscious, viscous feel, like liquid velvet on the palate. Long lingering smoky sweet notes and a dry finish.

D-Wonderful good of a RIS as Masala Mama is an IPA! well done MTH!

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Photo of rudylaw
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ GTOM

Three times I went back for pours of this amazing, best in show, stout. Pours a lush black with a huge chocolate, foamy head.

Lots of chocolate, candy, toffee, molasses... sweet! The taste is just amazing and completely out of left field. This goes down in a flash. I wish I could pick out more of the individual notes and subtleties, but on a day in which I sampled a dozen stouts, this was by far the most memorable. Awesome stuff!

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Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark, near black color with a thick brown head. The huge nose presents roasty malts, chocolate, molasses, light hops, coffee and ripe fruits. Outstanding. Like the nose, the taste is an absolute explosion of flavor yet well balanced. Everything I look for in an Imperial Stout is here. Hugely complex. Thick creamy body is well carbonated. A fantastic beer from Minneapolis.

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Russian Roulette from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.41 out of 5 based on 98 ratings.
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