Pozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial Stout
Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.

Pozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial StoutPozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial Stout
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Russian Imperial Stout
4.15 | pDev: 9.64%
Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
New Hampshire, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Pozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial StoutPozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial Stout
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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 101 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woosterbill
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1L swingtop (2008) into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep brown out of the bottle, black in the glass; huge light-brown head fills half the tulip - just perfect - then recedes rockily and leaves chunks of lace. Gorgeous.

S: Starts smoothly with chocolate and vanilla, then transitions seamlessly to a huge, alluring wave of coffee. Nice.

T: Same blend of flavors as the nose, but nothing especially complex or memorable. Maybe I'm just being haunted by the drainpoured Pompier that immediately preceded this, but I'm getting a faint hint of lactic sourness - nothing bad, but it keeps me from really embracing this beer.

M: Fairly thick body with plenty of rich carbonation.

D: Pretty smooth for the style, but I'm just not quite feeling it.

Notes: Worthy stout, but the barrel aging mentioned on the bottle doesn't seem to add much. I won't miss it too much


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Photo of kmo1030
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 edition.

pours an oily black into the glass, not producing much more than a thin layer khaki head, which fades to a ring.
the aroma has some strong roasty espresso, it's worth noting that it's more roasty and burnt smelling than you might usually find in an espresso stout. less prevalent are caramel, vanilla, a sort of raw molasses and some very faint dark fruits.
the taste is a little sweeter than expected actually, with the same heavy roasted component though. the caramel and vanilla are in there just as in the smell, the caramel also has a soft creamy quality. some undefined dark fruitiness is pervasive and somewhat stronger than in the aroma. the bourbon barrel influence is apparent. the coffee component is there, but it's toned down from what the aroma let on, and is actually quite mellow.
the body is pretty full, and the carbonation is soft, just present enough to move things along.
the drinkability is pretty good, on the whole it's sweet, but it's balanced nicely. there also isn't much trace of the 10% abv. overall it's a pretty straight shotting espresso stout, it doesn't throw you any curves, but what it does it does well.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1.5L bottle poured into a sampling glass - one of the last bottles around before they're completely gone!

Pours a very dark black with light dark black almost coffee like color with no head and just a tinge of lacing.

Taste is very strong in coffee. Chocolate on the finish and a strong toasty/roasty malt. It's an awesome beer and it's too bad their closing!

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: On tape at a bar I had never been to before. I had some big expectations for this brew considering I had heard good things.

The appearance was opaque black with a small mocha head with almost no retention. Strong bouquet of sweet chocolate, espresso, and raisins. Taste is sweet chocolate and espresso upfront. Some dark fruits, raisins and plums come in toward the end. Very sweet for a RIS. Clean aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and chewy with almost no carbonation. Drinkability is good considering the high ABV. It is still a sipper though.

Overall, an impressive and memorable RIS although the price tag is a little high.

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Photo of Avagadro
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: black and opaque, with no real head despite the vigorous pour.

S: chocolate, molasses, and a hint of coffee combine to form a surprisingly intense bouquet, given the lack of head.

T: as promised by the nose, this brew is dominated by chocolate and molasses, but somehow the espresso is lost.

M: medium body with no significant textures.

D: an ordinary brew offered at an extraordinary price. I don't mind paying a bit more for a better brew, but this just isn't anything special.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.36/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the Amsterdam Alehouse in Manhattan when meeting up with BA and old buddy Charlatansin on a recent trip to New York. My understanding is this beer is best on tap, as many of the bottles got infected due to poor quality control. Lucky me I guess!

Appearance- Comes off the tap the usual opaque RIS black with a minimal cap of thin head that dies back immediately to a ring. A touch of lacing as I drink.

Smell- Roasted malt and burnt coffee overwhelm here. Nice smells but very two-dimensional on the nose. I really don't pick up on much else despite trying for awhile.

Taste- Again, two-dimensional for me. Lots of roasted malt and espresso/burnt coffee flavors. I don't find a whole lot to be going on other than these two flavors. They are nice and well integrated however, just used to more complexity.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The mouthfeel is quite substantial and solid with an appropriately minimal level of carbonation. However, the drinkability really takes a hit for me given the lack of complexity for the style. If this were five or six percent and a porter, I would probably love it.

Overall, for me this is a fairly average RIS at best. Good, well integrated flavors but lacking in interesting flavor profile. Worth a try if it is on tap but only in the event that it is the only RIS.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-thick jet black color, no light comes through. A beautiful thick, dark tan colored head, no lacing.

S-strong roasted malt smell, some chocolate and then a hit of espresso

T-roasted malt up front, then a chocolate malt sets in followed by a sweet taste of dark fruit, plums and maybe some raisins, I feel like there is a hit of citrus hop in there towards the back and then the espresso taste finishes it off. All of the flavors are slightly mild for the big bold color.

M-smooth, thick, and creamy, almost chewy. Not too much carbonation but it is there.

D-the array of flavors and nice creamy texture makes it very drinkable. Actually too drinkable as I am reviewing before an evening meeting and will finish the liter (at 10% that isn't the best idea; but you only live once!)

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Photo of bminor7
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml from Half Time in Poughkeepsie, NY. 2008 vintage. Consumed 10/31/2009.

A - opaque black with a fluffy brown head...lacy

S - rich dark malts and espresso, hops, chocolate, super phenols and some alcohol

T - same...wonderfully complex. vanilla present. plenty of sugar.

M - medium-thick, perfect for the style. too heavy handed a pour can take away from the carbonation.

D - good - not overwhelming at all. tasty to the point that it can act as a dessert once dinner is over.

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Photo of david18
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the best Russian Imperial that I've had but not a bad one either. I guess my biggest complaint was that the taste was a little flat and uninteresting. A great aroma, excellent color but the taste didn't deliver on it. If there's no others on tap this is definitely worth getting. Again, just not my favorite.

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Photo of Jayli
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had originally 10/23 lost the review
2009 Release
A: This beer pours an almost opaque black though just the slightest hint of chocolate brown edges when held to the light. A 1/4 inch of tan head stands on top of this leaving nice sheets of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is of chocolate and big coffee notes, touch of dark fruits creep in.

T: Taste is - ooo this one has a kick! Starts with dark roasted malts up front, lending to a bitter chocolate and strong espresso flavoring. Alcohol is definitely resent though doesn't deter.

M: Medium body, low carbonation, silkmy smooth with a a bitter aftertaste of coffee.

D: This is a highly drinkable beer, though a pint or two could knock you on your keister.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Draught2012 for providing this beer in trade last February. I've had it cellared since and tonight is the night to enjoy. Sorry to hear the news about this brewery closing. Bottle has a blue "2008" seal that covers the swing top.

Nice clean pop from opening the swing top. The beer pours with a minimal tan head that isn't as substantial as most Imp Stouts. The head fades almost immediately and forms the thinnest film of bubbles across the top of the beer. The beer is the darkest brown and only the slightest of light can be seen at the edge

Aroma is of raisins, vanilla, molasses, marshmallow. (yes, marshmallow)

My first thought is of the vanilla bean here. Really shines through in the flavor.
There is an initial vanilla burst, followed by a moment of charcoal and deep roasted malt. Slightly sweet, but not too much, in fact I wish there was a touch more sweetness in the finish. The beer almost finishes a little dry and then heads back to the vanilla flavor. While I know this is brewed with some coffee, I really don't get much of that flavor at all. However, as the beer warms, you certainly begin to feel/taste the barrels used to age this beer. Have to say I am shocked this is a 10% abv. Totally hidden.

The mouth feel is silky smooth and slick. There is just a slight touch of carbonation.

This is a really nice beer. Very drinkable and one to savor over the evening. In my mind the vanilla bean makes the beer. Does fall a bit short of the classic Imp Stouts, but still a very good beer.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

just heard the semi-official news that pennichuck is closing down. since beers from establishments marked "closed" on this site can't be reviewed, i figured i needed to enter this one in before the entry gets mothballed.

2007 vintage keg, on-tap at deep ellum, in allston, massachusetts. tasted in early october 2009. served in tulip glass. (poperings hommel bier-branded snifter)

opaque black. big 3+ finger light brown, creamy head. very slowly recedes to creamy wispy layer and ring. amazing lacing, almost curtain-like further down.

aroma: raisins and figs, dried [tart?] cherries, molasses. bourbony wood and oak notes. mash acidity, almost balsamic vinegar in quality and complexity. touch of coffee, mixing with earthy hop hints.

taste: tart fruitiness (similar to aroma) with molasses and roasted/charred malt, plus coffee tones. pumpernickel or rye bread toast. wood notes, again bourbon-like, with vanilla reminiscences (tho less than aroma?). underlying coffee-like and fruity cherry acidity. earthy, leafy hop and roast malt/coffee give a moderate, almost bold bitterness. overall quite complex, and decently harmonized.

medium body, lots of acidity and tannic texture. not bad, perhaps even nice, but it's definitely not what one would call smooth. mild to moderate carbonation gives a slight tingle, some body, and a bit of brightening effect to the flavor.

this was pretty nice, actually. sad to see them go.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap on Roadhouse - listed as the '08 version, with an ABV of 8.1%. Served in goblet/tulip-like glass.

A - Pitch black body with the tiniest glint of brown at the fringes. Poured carefully by the bartender to have exactly one finger of tan foam with excellent retention. Eventually dissipates to a solid cap with tons of glass-coating lacing.

S - Roasted malts, dark chocolate, anise, earthiness, a few notes of dark fruits. Initially there isn't much of sweetness, but as it warms it starts to gain significantly more. Good, but not super-complex.

T - The taste is much sweeter, right off the bat, and gets even more intense as it warms. Baker's chocolate, maybe even some candy sugar, light coffee and dark fruits. I'm guessing the espresso drops out quite a bit with aging. Well-hidden ABV!

M - Soft, smooth, creamy, medium-thick body that is right on for a beer in the 8-10% range. Low carbonation that supports but doesn't interfere. Nice residual stickiness, but never gets cloying or overdone.

D - Excellent stuff, well-hidden booze, clean, sweet aftertaste. Even though this is a sipper it's one that can be sipped all night with dangerous results.

I'm wondering if being fresh might amp up the flavor with the additional espresso character, but as it stands this is a good RIS that is worth trying if you encounter it at the bar/store.

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Photo of papat444
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***2008 Vintage (so says the blue plastic wrapping on the swingtop)***

Poured from a 1L(!) bottle and shared with my wife last night.

Appearance: Big, black body but as i'm pouring i notice dark brown. Regardless, nothing penetrates through this. Nice cascading effect in the first glass i pour into (my wife's). Big, dark tan head, kind of like a mocha or espresso coffee (ironic).

Smell: Intoxicating is all i can say. Aroma was wafting around as i poured. Strong whiskey, dark chocolate and smooth coffee. It never lets go right doewn to the last sip. It's a little bit strong but i like it a lot.

Taste: Wow, very timid. It opens up a little as it gets to room temp but still fairly discreet. A nice bitterness of hops maybe? Hard to pick out the coffee but it's there as more of a soft espresso. Soaked with oak on the edges (yeah i know but it's the only word that comes to mind). Not quite what i expected. At this level of ABV and all the flavors involved, i would have liked a bit more complexity. It still tastes good though.

Mouthfeel: Majorly smooth and creamy. Remarkably low carbonation (bordering on none) despite the "pop" of the swing-top. Still, it feels very comfortable on the palate. Body is lighter that i would have thought.

Drinkability: Alcohol is so well concealed that it's a crime. I'm easily able to drink with being impeded by the high ABV though the best would have been to be 3 people for this bottle.

Overall: I really would have preferred a more bold presence in terms of taste. A bit of a letdown there. Still, i can't complain about the end result too much as it is a tasty brew. Though tame, i'd recommend it but i don't know if i'd spring for a 1L bottle again. A 12oz. would be perfect.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vintage 2006 bottle.

Nice and dark, the stout has a kiss of bourbon, a vanilla sweetness that accentuates a mild roasted body. The barrel aging doesn't impart much strength, resulting in a very pleasant drink.


Thanks to sulldaddy for this 1 L swingtop bottle. Shared with ksak and AnnieK.

A: The stout is dark, a pitch black wonder in my Troegenator mug. An off-white, tannish head measured nearly a finger and a half and is trying to lace as it recedes. It isn't doin' so hot.

S: Coffee and chocolate dominate, dark and well roasted with a sweet milky touch. Bourbon is present, albeit faintly so. A stale beer aroma lingers under the surface, rather strong at points.

T: The stout hardly seems like a 10% behemoth. The roasted stout has a lactic sweetness with semi-sweet and milk chocolate. Mild coffee mingles with the dark flavors. A sour element lingers with each sip, sitting where the bourbon should be. I had this on tap a few months back and much preferred that to the bottle. I'll hold out hope for the other '08 (as well as '06 and '07) that I've got in the cellar.

M: The mouthfeel starts out like a good stout, full and thick. The middle of the sip takes a turn downward with the stale flavors. Too bad.

D: The stout starts off well only to trail off. I want more bourbon from a stout that sells itself as including some barrel in it.

4-Sep-09 - 4, 3.5, 3.5, 3, 3 = 3.50

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 1L swing top bottle purchased for around $12. Poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. The RIS appears an opaque deep brown color with a healthy two fingers of dark tan foam. Flavors and aromas consist of bittersweet and milk chocolates, nice coffee and espresso notes, mocha, deep roasted grains, decent malt sweetness, prunes, dried cherries. The stout is approaching full bodied with ample carbonation. RIS fans need to try this one.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.8/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured out of a growler into a sample glass.

A: dark amber with almost no head and no lacing on the glass. I was surprised this didn't seem to pour heavy and thick like other RISs at all and there was too much carbonation for the slight head.

S: molasses, dark fruit, and roasty chocolate.

T: opens with roasted but subdued chocolate flavor, with a slight dark fruit coming in towards the middle. Finished with roasted malts and a slight alcoholic twinge.

M: Light to medium bodied, again, I thought this was way too carbonated and therefore much more coarse than I liked.

D: I wouldn't have this again though I was curious to try it. Not one of my favorite RISs.

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Photo of JasonA
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dont know how the appearance could improve. Thick oil slick black pour. Dense mocha settling, lacing, head. Quite the staying power. Was worried when I popped since didnt hear any fizz for a 1L bottle.

Something co2-ish in the smell. Needs a moment and some swirls. Deep dark roasted, yet sweet, malt. Yummy. Rum rasin soaked fruit. Some bakers chocolate.

Boom, dark bakers chocolate, espresso up in ya grill. Awesome. Some bittering Stoutish finish, biscuit. Abv is there, but only complimentary. Simply perfect bonding of malt to ABV. Would love to give a 5 here, but the chocolate/espresso could be a bit more.

Drying chocolate, like cocoa powder on the mouth, though good. Awesome thick, almost syrupy body. Borders that Bells Expedition syrup-y line perfect. Also +.5 to drinkability due to awesome reusable flip top bottle.

Will rebuy this again ... quickly.

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Photo of Overlord
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the trade!

Pours a dark brackish black with a big light brown head.

Smells like muted chocolate and a big coffee background. Taste is a bit strange ... there's a metallic twang to it I can't put my finger on, but I don't really care for. Lots of dark, bitter coffee and some balancing roasted malt and chocolate, but surprisingly thin tasting for its appearance.

Mouthfeel too watery. A good beer, but nothing superlative.

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Photo of Amalak
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an outstanding beer. This Russian Imperial Stout is very well balanced. A lot of time the coffee will shoot through and almost be sour. This had balance.

A somewhat pricey beer at $8--compared to the $5/6 at the bar--but worth it for the high quality.

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Photo of HopDerek
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Ron's Schoolhouse Grill.

Poured a dark brownish black color with 2 fingers of foamy mocha tan head. Good retention and nice lacing. Smells of espresso, dark chocolate, toffee, and roasted malts. Tastes of vanilla briefly up front, then roasted malts, toffee, and dark fruits. Dark chocolate follows before the espresso and earthy hop bitterness come to finish it off along with some light alcohol warmth. Medium-full in body with good carbonation. Smooth and semi-thick, roasty and sweet with a dry bitter finish. Not as espresso oriented as I expected, but still a decent RIS that isn't too extreme to be able to tolerate. Good on a cool, damp day.

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Photo of alovesupreme
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not opaque but a dark color that when in the glass is surly black. An offwhite head sits on top and refuses to dissipate for several minutes.
Lots of vanilla, some coffee, prunes and dark berries dominate.
Lots of berries. A slightly sour, dark fruit flavor is most prevalent in the middle of the experience. With vanilla upfront and a slight roasted coffee flavor and alcohol in the finish.
A full body that is not extremely but well carbonated.
A good RIS that I will seek out again in the future and would employ others to do the same.

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Photo of shanem
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at American Flabread (may have been nitro, seemed very very smooth with little carbonation but not sure)

A: Black, no light shining through this. About an inch of tan head and not much lacing

S: aroma was surprisingly light. had some sweetness with subtle coffee and chocolate notes

T: A very good traditional smooth stout flavor. not much coffee flavor considering it was labeled a russian imperial espresso stout but it was there. finished slightly sweet and dry. No alcohol taste...could be dangerous

M: Thick and rich. Very smoth and a little creamy

D: I would certainly have multiples.

I thought this was real close to great. but a really really good RIS. only letdown was the lack of coffee when labeled an espresso stout.

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Photo of Deuane
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep, dark brown with a medium tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left decent lace.

S-Rich dark roasted malt with a nice hit of espresso and dark chocolate notes.

T-Dark roasted malt with bitter dark cocoa chocolate, espresso and a hit of bitterness. Very well balanced flavours without the presence of overwhelming fusels.

M-Medium body, nitro silky smoothness and good, long lasting bitterness.

D-A damn fine brew that has no one flavour standing out but has multiple flavours converging together into a fine tasting and drinking beverage.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap at Brass Rail Deli in Campbelltown, PA on 3/23/09.

A - Very dark brown body, bordering black, with two fingers of frothy burnt tan head that settled to a half inch of retention and laced up quite nicely.

S - Roasted malt with a good bit of espresso bitterness and dark chocolate notes.

T - Roasty malt character with chocolate, cocoa and espresso notes. Bitter chocolate and earthy hops appear in the backend. Alcohol is well concealed. Pretty aggressive bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium, softly carbonated body with a smooth, silky nitro mouthfeel. Finish is slightly dry and moderately bitter on the palate.

D - Fine RIS with a prevalent coffee and chocolate character and quite an assertive bitterness as well.

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Pozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial Stout from Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 101 ratings