Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout | Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse

very good
95 Reviews
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Emelisse Imperial Russian StoutEmelisse Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Sammy on 01-03-2010

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Reviews: 95 | Ratings: 250
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong, oily aroma has roast coffee, molasses and miso components. It pours a deep, opaque sable just a whisker above black with a thick, fizzy and rather persistent light tan head. Rich, mouth-filling flavor has firm coffee, molasses, unsweet chocolate and nutty tones with hoppy and miso underpinnings, as well as quite an alcohol bite. Texture is smooth and thick, but tingly and lively as well, quite satisfying.

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Photo of GoldenVIKE
2.59/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a bottle at The Publican, and paid $14!!

A: nice thick pour, creamy beige head that with nice retention and lace.

S: did not smell too great when it was served, but I think the restaurant served it too cold. probably around 40-45 degrees. smelled way more alcoholic than a 11% ABV been should. otherwise, standard coffee and chocolate notes came through, and it smelled much better and richer as the beer warmed.

T&M: first tastes were overwhelmed by alcohol and bitterness, which i didn't expect from a $14 12oz bottle of stout. tastes mellowed nicely as the beer warmed and become much more espresso like by the end. porter-like.

O: for the price there are much better beers out there. while this one did warm up nicely, it didn't offer anything that you can't find in other good stouts or porters.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Taking the backlash at Beeradvocate for my thoughts on beer trading...Sheesh!!!

Very close...so close I can, and will, taste it!!!

Pours a dense and syrupy black. Not quite completely opaque, as it hints at mahogany around the edges in the light. Very small to no head and lacking lacing. Par for the course, I'm 'fraid.

Very big, sweet, chocolately and roasted malt aromas. Wonderfully melded, too. Not too much of one or the other...A touch boozy, but other than that quite nice and to style.

Flavor is a touch thinner than expected. The kicker on this is the super long, roasty and bitter finish. It lasts forever!!! Not nearly as thick and chewy of a beer as the pour suggested. This is actually a wonderfully complex RIS. Think of the upfrontly powerful Old Rasputin and reverse it...This is that beer. Not as complex or powerful as Raspy, and it drops a touch for that reason. Nice beer, though except for....

The basics: $5.49/12 oz. bottle (ouch!) and 11% ABV (YEAH!!)...

This is really good, but won't be anything super special for those accustomed to big RISs...

What I like most: The nice and complex flavor profile.

What I like least: The price and thinner than expected mouthfeel.

Verdict: Big and complex, but too expensive when there are other cheaper alternatives. Try it if you see it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a creamy off-white tan head, solid head retention and lace.

S: Good notes of chocolate and orange oil, but I also notice a hint of acetone and hairspray in the background, a fault, but doesn't ruin it especially as it warms up.

T: Sweet milk chocolate to dark chocolate with a mild hopping but it makes it from being overly sweet. None of the solvent character from the nose carries through. Good overall flavours, enjoyable, never really roasted.

M: Smooth, creamy, frothy, easy drinking with a medium to full body.

O: This is quite a good beer, a very Americanized style out of the Netherlands which was surprising. Price is a problem, when Yeti or Ten Fidy is half the price and you're not getting as much, why would I buy it again? That being said, I liked this beer quite a bit, it's well made, if you've got a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, go for it.

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Photo of sk8man121
3.04/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.16 oz bottle poured into Allagash chalice. Lot A, best by 2013.

A: Pours a completely opaque pitch black with plum highlights. 2-finger mocha head settles into a thin cap, leaving elegant lacing on the glass.

S: Creamy chocolate is strong up front, surrounded by campfire notes and sweet, dark fruits. Little to no hop presence. Ethanol heat is detectable and slightly astringent in the nose.

T: Chocolate has been replaced by smokey barrel notes. Oak and extremely hot alcohol are in the center, followed by a cloyingly sweet finish. Leaves a distinctly unpleasant bitterness on the tongue; likely a result of oak tannins and alcohol, as the hops in this are barely noticeable.

M: Medium-light carbonation, thick and chewy; typical for the style.

O: I'm not going to be able to finish this. Each sip becomes more cloying and hotly alcoholic than the last. While there are certainly a few interesting things going on in here, it feels like I'm drinking a bottle of rubbing alcohol that fell into the fire. This may be worth throwing in the cellar to cool down for a few years, but with so many great (and cheaper) alternatives on the market, why bother?

Boozy and unpalatable when consumed young.

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Photo of Beejay
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep black in color with a beautiful dark tan head. Looks very nice.

S: Lovely dark chocolate aroma. Caramel and Molasses with a nice touch of licorice.

T: Very sweet. Almost cloyingly so at first sip. After the sweetness calms down a bit a bitter roasty flavor takes over. It is almost a touch astringent. There is a bit of coffee grounds and dark chocolate in the finish. It is good, but the balance seems a little out of whack for me.

M: Fairly thick on the mouth, carbonation is a touch much for me.

O: Good, but with so many stellar stouts out there I could easily overlook this one for another that is a bit more put together and rounded off.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like a typical thick imperial stout. Vry nice appearance. Smells roasty and coffee heavy. Lots of sweetness on the nose. The malts are overwhelming and strong. Too much going on in this one. The mouthfeeel suffers from the bitterness from the roast overpowering but interesting

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black center, cocoa around the edges of the glass. No head until the trailing end of a motor oil-ish pour...a half finger coffee bean head appears and quickly disappears into barely a cap.

S: Burnt malts, smoke, and an oaky character backed up by chocolate sweetness and booze.

T: Burnt stuff up front, smoke...wood....lots of roasted character. Semi-sweet chocolate and a bit of coffee provides a suitable base. Theres some heat, a little alcohol note in the finish.

M: Thick and chewy, low carbonation. The motor oil pour is re-affirmed in body.

D: Pretty good despite the heat. In non barrel aged stouts, I really seem to prefer char and smoke up front as opposed to lots of chocolate sweetness. This is giving me what I want, while allowing that sweetness to remain in a supporting role.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.16 ounce (330 ml) bottle, best before 12/2012. My buddy Denis picked up this goodie for me, so thanks! Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and some piney hops. The taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, but with the addition of some licorice, dark fruit and burnt/charred malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit slick and creamy with decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink, and the 11% ABV isn't very noticable at all. I think it's a good brew, not sure if it's worth $4.99 a bottle or not but I thought it was a solid overall brew.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Vigorous, long pour nets a jet black brew with a light mocha head of about thumbs-width. Some lacing, but the legs keep running it down into the beer.

Aromas of heavy roasted coffee, very dark cocoa, roasted malts. Licorise. Alcohol burns the nose hairs.

First sip is similar to aroma - dark cocoa, dark roast coffee, hint of dark roasted malts. Alcohol burn. Long, lingering finish reminds me of dark semisweet chocolate. All bitterness from roasted grains. Good level of carbonation.

Mouthfeel is full, chewy, slightly sweet, not cloying. Some creamy carbonation, surprising considering strength of the beer.

Very drinkable beer. Outstanding example of a RIS.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeffo for this. Not sure on vintage as nothing marked on the side of the label. A little bit smaller than a 330 ML bottle.

A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled black. Slow medium pour got a huge dark brown head, two fingers, that took it's time to settle down. Really settled at about the one finger mark. Well constructed head. Held it's shape well and good compacted bubbles. Very nice head retention on swirling. No real lacing but left a good trail of alcohol legs on the sides of the glass.

S-- A lot of a smoky, or burnt quality to this. Long roasted malts, burnt oatmeal stands out, chocolate and coffee. Also get good doses of the ABV on swirling and then sniffing. Just flashes of the hops which add a small bit of floral and blackcurrant to this and offset the smoky/ burnt smell.

T-- Roasted malts, coffee, oatmeal. Taste reminds me of some of the Mikkeller Imperial stouts but the hops are a different touch. Floral in some aspects and in others blackcurrant again. Hops sort of take over with the beer getting warmer and more air.

M-- Amarillo hops really jump out in the mouth. Has somewhat of a grassy feel in a way. Kind of odd with the burnt qualities. A little harsh at times but does soften up and has a bit of a licorice feel/ finish.

D-- Slow sipper for the fact of the heavy roasted with the floral, grassy feel for the hops. Does work though. It is big and bold. ABV is well hidden for 11% and really only obvious in the look and smell. Seems a bit young though and the hops are pretty fresh. Good beer.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Thick viscous black body. Hardly any light coming through.

S - This beer has a strong nose of chocolate and burnt malts. Robust roasty smokey nose. Some toasty wood wafting through.

T - Strong syrupy chocolate flavor is foremost. Roasty toasted and burnt malts are present. The taste is thick and intense with plenty of coffee/chocolate and smoked flavors.

M - Very thick body. The mouthfeel was smooth but viscous and chewy. I felt like i was eating this beer.

D - Pretty intense. Wouldn't be able to take down to much of this beer. As the glass became empty, the liquid became thicker. TONS of sediment ion the bottom of the bottle.

Notes - There was literally a half inch of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I poured some of the beer back into the bottle and swirled it around, kicking up ALL of the yeasty mud. This gave my beer a chocolate milk like consistency and also added a yeasty tang to it. If you like imperial stouts id try this one. Lots of flavor and plenty of kick.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #44 (Sep 2010):

Pours viscous black with a creamy, tiny-bubbled tan head on top. Big charred grain note in the nose with some chalky yeast in the back. Body is like it pours: thick. Right off the bat, there are some in-your-face chocolate and espresso flavors happening. Mild hopping is not noticed for the most part, aside from a faint leafy flavor. Black currant fruitiness with a slow, back-ended warmth. Hint of charred wood. Bitter chocolate in the finish. A very good run at the style--worth seeking out.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 't Arendsnest, Amsterdam.

Pours impenetrable black with a cappuccino head that's slow to fade. Coffee, bark and sticky orange - huge for both malts and hops. Heavy chocolate cake malts, roasty tightness in the middle and some piney resin to end. A bite in the finish and a dry linger. Full, sticky and round.

Complex, lots of coffee cocktail (java, sugar) notes, and very drinkable for 11%.

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Photo of BigB415
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with no head. When I take a sniff I could smell chocolate, the alcohol and black licorice. I get no alcohol bite when I take a sip which is something I'd expect from a beer with 11% ABV, I also get the black licorice upfront when I sip. All in all a very mellow stout from a part of the world where I don't get beers from that much.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black beer with no real light coming through the glass, little bit of head, not much stuck to the sides.

S - Roasted malts, caramel, little bit of bitter chocolate. Slight bit of wood with a little bit of alcohol burn.

T - Pretty nice taste, good roasted notes. Bit of bitter chocolate. It's fairly straight-forward, but pretty good.

M - Thick, moderate carbonation, full bodied.

D - Drinks easier than an 11%. It's a solid beer that I can hapily drink.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body w/ a one-finger tan head that left some lace patches on top of a great malt aroma of chocolate, toffee, caramel, roasted and coffee malts. Tad simplistic for style but still a great tasting beer as a smooth, medium body passes w/ chocolate and caramel and is balanced with a dry malt edge of roasted and coffee. Some hints of dark fruits like black cherry as well. ABV is well-hidden and that's scary considering how high it is and this is a must try for any stout drinker.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.09/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend brought this to a poker game last night, a standard ploy to get others drunk while gambling. 11% ABV, a fine choice for this purpose. I had about 1/3 of the bottle.

It poured dark brown-black with a few fingers of tan head. It looks nice but I didn't really like the aroma, strong roasted malts which smelled a little bitter, also a little alcohol peeking through. Not as complex as I'd hoped in the flavor either, the roasted notes take the lead, with a lasting bitter aftertaste and a noticeable burn.

A strongly alcoholic charred malts creation, not really my cup of tea. Glad for the chance to try it, and I did end up losing some money so I guess it helped the cause.

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Photo of argock
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Best by 9/2011 notched on label. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.

A: Oily black with 1-finger beige head that leaves a bit of pond scum on top but mere dots of lace.

S: Intense roasted notes, caramel, and tobacco hops with a touch of dark, bittersweet chocolate. I don't find any vanilla despite the time on oak. There is a cherry alcohol note that comes through more with warming.

T: A densely flavorful stout with roasted malt with just the right amount of bite, followed up by a sharp molasses note and then plenty of coffee and a dark chocolate and tobacco hops finish. I would not characterize this brew as earthy, but there are those elements there which complement the sharp roasted notes very well.

M: There is a lot of unfermentables in this brew which leaves a layered feel on the palate. The carbonation is not especially active but is bright with tightly-bubbled character.

D: This is a very good stout, but I don't think it gives serious challenge to American greats like Stone IRS, Bell's Expedition, Great Divide Yeti or Victory Storm King, which I think this beer is most comparable to due to the strong tobacco and floral hoppiness. It is very good and worth one try, but the price tag limits its usefulness when you look at the excellence of so many other Imperial Stouts out there.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout coming out of a bottle into a Sierra goblet.

Appearance: Thick oily pour with the nice "plop" sound of a cumfart as it fills the glass. Perfect one-finger head, of a brownish white color, that dies quickly and lingers as a 1/4-finger-deep rim around the glass. Color is deep auburn, almost black and incredibly opaque.

Smell: Coffee bitterness upfront, followed by wood (from the oak barrel this beer was aged in). Vanilla at the end. Old wine scent and swamp odor. Smells like a well-stocked damp cellar.

Taste: A nice subtle coffee taste coats the mouth all around, followed by dark malty bitterness and some hops. Chocolate powder. A bit thin and underwhelming for an aged Imperial Stout, though.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, medium body and flavor. Decent but not great for a beer this big (and expensive).

Drinkability: Good, but I wish it weren't so drinkable. Small bottle, good taste, alcohol is well played. However, an 11% barrel-aged stout should be more spectacular, boozy and burning. Solid, but far from impressive.

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Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.16oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Body is quite black. Big tan head leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Mostly espresso with some fruitiness.

T: Strong espresso notes. Some dried fruits. A bit of tobacco. Plenty of roasty bitterness. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M: Slightly thinner than I would like, but good creaminess.

D: A solid RIS. It didn't wow me, but it did the job on a cold December night.

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Photo of samie85
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this at The Bad Apple on 11/12.

A-Deep auburn brown with a barely there, syrup colored head.

S-Some notes of roasty coffee and some dark chocolate with some notes of alcohol.

T-Bitter, deep coffee with some dark chocolate notes.

M-A little thin with a little bit of carbonation and warming alcohol notes.

D-I'm not a fan of thin RIS's and unfortunately this is one. The combination of the alcohol presence and the flavor profile are not the best match for me.

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Photo of afksports
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like many others, I had this on-tap at Capone's Black Friday event. Hell of an morning it made for. Running around Valley Forge park in the mud with a dog that I'm allergic to, because Pliny was on tap. Sigh...

As for the beer though, I was not so impressed. For an RIS to stand out it really has to do something special, and it seemed like this one just did the style. It had a mostly flat pour, a pitch black appearance, and burnt malts on the nose. The booze was really present too.

Taste was also typical, but seemed almost not entirely put together. Like the booze masked the coffee and chocolate flavors, rather than the other way round. That made it less drinkable, especially with a Batch 2 Consecration sitting around.

Capone's? A+. This one... eh.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at capones on black friday.

A- small fizz on top with a few spots of lace and a solid ring. Dark brown black in color with some red in the glow.

S- bakers chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Burnt malts and a bit of molasses.

T- cocoa powder and super dark bakers chocolate. Dark roasted malts that bounce off the other layers of roasty goodness and round things out. Long roasty finish.

M- medium body with a mellow light carb. Semi dry finish.

D- nice stuff and rather easy to drink, just in a field of killer brew this one doesn't stand out for me.

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Photo of claspada
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are centered around dark roasted grains, molasses, some dark fruits and roasted candied malts with a undeniable alcohol whiff in the end.

The taste opens with extreme dark roasted java and dark fruit malts. Roast, roast, roast. I get a huge boozieness here from the middle to end which it a bit offsetting. I wish I aged this a little longer before sampling, but the intense roasted maltiness makes me feel like this will always be slightly unbalanced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with medium carbonation, overly warm.

This is a serious beer indeed. Honestly I enjoyed the Winterbier heads and tails over this offering but it is really not fair to compare the two. This beer definitely needs some time on the back-burner to reach it's maximum potential, but I still question it's ability to balance itself because it is extremely heavy on the roasted grains and even if the alcohol subsides I think the bitterness from the roasted grains still may be too overpowering.

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Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout from Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse
3.91 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
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