Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout | Sprecher Brewing Company

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Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial StoutBrewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout
291 Ratings
Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial StoutBrewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-05-2002

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Ratings: 291 |  Reviews: 190
Reviews by botham:
Photo of botham
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pint bottle poured into a snifter. pours jet black with a razor thin tan head after a hard pour. retains poorly and leaves a soapy rim that lasts the duration.

aroma is lightly roasted with notes of chocolate and a distant earthy base that blends in with the roasted notes. there is a buttery character that becomes more apparent as the brew warms, which hurts the overall profile in the nose.

more of the same with a more pronounced buttery character, along with a liht note of vanilla and the same roasted and chocolate notes along with a lightly metallic finish that also has a bit of sharpness from alcohol.

mouthfeel is full bodied with a curiously thin finish compared to the weight. the buttery texture doesn't help the brew and hurts the profile on the palate.

drinkability is good. for a RIS, this is pretty tame, and the overall character is infected, possibly by diacetyl. a decent RIS, but easily could be better.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Guinness pint glass jet black with a fizzy caramel color head,the color was nice but I wasnt expecting the fizzy look I got from the head.Aromas are killer,dark fruit,rum,bitter chocolate,and roasted coffee all come together real well and its not subtle by nay means.Maybe not quite as full as I was expecting in the mouth but its close,sweet buttery rum flavors with bitter chocolate and dark fruit making it sweeter at the onset,a nice earth/woody note in the finish keeps the sweetness in check enough.Not a bad RIS,quite drinkable,you can have more than one.

7.9%ABV per bottle label.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Holy head. Towering, monstrous, intimidating tan head. Great Head! Body is ruby hued jet. Rich, tempting mouthfeel that lets down in the finish. Smells and tastes almost entirely of chocolate and coffee. Hints of burnt toast and anise seed. Drinkability is above average. ABV is well covered. Overall, this beer is lacking something. It needs a finish so basically it needs a bit more hops or a little less sweetness. Still, it’s very good for the price.

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Photo of blackearth
4.53/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Ray's Liquors in Wauwatosa, WI. Pours a midnight black body with a dark tan head the falls over time. Aroma is of cream, brown sugar and chocolate. Full bodied and smooth this beer has burnt, smoked wood and dark chocolate and mocha flavors. Great complexity and drinkability. Gets more interesting with every sip.

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Photo of Billolick
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ouncer, plastic/wax top (a pain to get off), hang tag, the whole bit, purchased at New beer, in NYC, pours black and gooey, dark tan head, tiny bubble film and some spotty lacing. Nose is richly of expresso, cocoa nad dark bitter chocolate. Strong brew, notes of black coffee, bitter chocolate. Alcohol quite present and prickly on the nosrtils. Black currant jammyness, thick smoke and oilyness with overtones of a coffee/choco blackout trainwreck. This one likely could use a few years in the bottle to mellow out, now its drinking a tad on the rough, unbalanced and unrefined side for my sensory system.

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Photo of reitzbrewing
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Bright black pour under a 2” rocky tan foam collar that provides thick lace. S: wine, alcohol and malt in the aroma along with a little citrus T: Well rounded malt flavors with malt caramel sweetness and chocolate in balance with light roast flavors. Starts with a little sweetness up front and slight grainy tartness on the finish. F: Fulll bodied with fine soft carbonation. O: A balanced, easy to drink Russion Imperial Stout.

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Photo of tyleeis
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%

Photo of jmbraxton
5/5  rDev +36.2%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Most Russian looking RIS I've ever had, the bottle itself just looks so Russian, from the label, to the shape of the bottle itself. Black pour, tan head, 1" in depth, respectable retention and lacing. Aroma is dark bread, mild chocolate, dark fruit in a miniscule way, with a little alcohol to round it all out.

Dry unsweetened chocolate, dark fruits, breadiness, licorice, and plenty of warming alcohol continues into the mouth on the initial sip. While the alcohol is there, it really doesn't detract from the drinking experience, plenty of thickness to the mouthfeel. Pretty smooth overall. Detectable amounts of toffee and caramel, but this stays below average for sweetness of an RIS, if you like sweet syrupy RIS, you might not be all in on this one.

I think this one might have a bit higher of a rating if it wasn't so dang cheap and available. Wisconsin makes some delicious stouts that are available off the shelf in 4 packs for around $10. If only they made them special releases and charged $10+ a bottle. . .

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Photo of ADR
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black appearance with some reddish light transmission but on the thinnish side in the pour. Head is minimal, brownish and down to a skim in 30 seconds. Simple ring and dot laces. Vanilla to the aroma, slight raspberry tones. Mouthfeel is a little light for the style, but there's an agreeable chocolate tone to the flavor with some sense of light fruit, almost nectarine. Good carbonation and balance, slight drying at the close. Compares in some ways to a lighter version of a personal fave, Rogue Shakespeare -- but lack the bitter roastiness and rum-steeped fruitiness of a well done Imperial. But its quite drinkable, its best quality overall.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle states that the abv is 7.9% abv pours a pitch black body with a mocha tan head, forms nice even chunks of lacing with each sip. Aroma dark burn black patent malt with a touch of coffee. Dark fruit, soft oatmeal like grain additions give it an Impy Stout light feel. Flavor is nice warming alcohol with dark fruit a touch of candy. More dark roasts mild coffee heavy with plum or booze soaked raisins. Mouthfeel is medium bodied a bit light for some Imperial Stouts but this beer has done me right I don't care if it's more of a Double Stout, it works flavors collide and then form a cohesive balance with each sip. Drinkability overall is solid perfect portion versus a bomber I'd rather drink this than most of the heavy micro stouts I've tried recently.

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Photo of chinchill
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16 oz bottle poured into extra large Austrian glass beer mug in Nov. 2011; revisited with a 12 oz bottle in Jan. 2017.

Pours near black with some dark brown/reddish hues. Large, creamy tan head has a trace of orange coloration and good retention - leaves a good amount of sticky lacing on the glass.

Sweet and lightly spicy aroma. Less clear-cut aroma of dark roasted malt than expected. Hints of dark, ripe fruits.

Taste is lightly sweet. The hops that lend a spiciness to the aroma fail to do enough to counter the sweetness until the finish, although the sweetness does linger into the finish. Seems to lack a solid dark malt base until near the finish. A bit of tartness to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but with some tongue tingle; Near full body. Light carbonation that seemed appropriate.

Sweet from the start to mid-taste. More of a sour component than usual noted in 2011 but not in 2017.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle says 7.9%. Gold wax over flip-top. Paper-sack brown label. Brown glass bottle. Water has two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen atom. Love your mother.

Pours into the snifter a terribly deep black color, with a creamy mocha-colored head that lasts and lasts and lasts. So far I'm gonna say it's underrated, but I haven't even smelled it yet.

Aroma is a wonderful melding of coffee beans, latte froth/steamed milk, bittersweet baking cocoa, and very slight and supportive mineral notes.

Taste loses me a bit. Mineral takes over, as does the roast without any of the gooey sweetness or robust nuttiness suggested by the chocolate/coffee tones in the aroma. Not only does the body seem a little too thin for a Russian Freakin' Imperial Stout, but the taste itself seems kind of watery. And it offers a weird pucker-y, nearly sour citrus peel flavor, all the way through but especially in the finish. Huh?

I liked Sprecher's tripel from the same Huge Waxed Flip Top Reserve Series, or whatever they're calling it. Wasn't perfect, but it was nice. But ain't great. Ain't crap either, but they're asking you to drink a ton, with a bottle this size (a whole liter of the stuff). Maybe they should stick to soda...

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Photo of BamfBacon
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of cokes
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bold stab at an Imperial Stout. Richly black wih some burgundy tinges. Small tan head, but it sticks around for all 9 innings. Vapors of molasses draped prunes.
The mouth is first greeted with some vanilla and strong black coffee/ roasted malt flavors. Then comes the tidal wave of sweetness that lasts well after the sip travels down the esophagus. Gooey grape jam, brown sugar, caramel nougat and molasses. Lacks the bitterness from both the charry, roasted malts and the hops. Very "grapey", though not in the vinous way that I love my Impies.
Syrupy, and sticky in texture. Coats the mouth, but yields quickly to a thinness. Overall, it feels pretty decent...though maybe a little too carbonated. A little more balance (either from more bitterness/hop presence, or (preferably) less sweetness), would make this alot better. Despite its modest stature, its difficult to consume due to the overriding presence of sugar.
Nice to see an Imperial brewed here in WI. Not the best, but I'll take it. Kudos to Sprecher for experimenting with new styles...nice, a little tweaking would bring big rewards.

I do enjoy this. Actually, quite a bit. It's highly unique and boldly flavored. But I'd be kidding you if I said this didn't fall short as an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with reddish tint. Was quite good at room temperature. Thanks Radek. Chocolate and malt and roastiness offset and controlled the bitterness and the coffee. Above average mouthfeel. Smooth Drinkable. A hit for this brewery, though an after-ran RIS.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black. Impenetrable except for a ring of glowing deep mahogany at the base of the Imperial pint. Creamy, lasting head of very dark tan. Walls of thin, bubbled lace. Nice!

Smell: Deeply caramelish. Molasses. Fruity with cranberry! Roasty malt with a slight smoky edge... almost like burnt black coffee at 3:59 AM in a greasy spoon. Charred wood. Very much like very dark-kilned chocolate malt... some black malt/roasted barley too. Fruitiness! Burnt sugar. Burnt toast. Bourbon. Scotch. Rich.

Taste: Dark caramel intertwined with deep fruit appears upfront. Berries. Slight cherry. It's initially juicy and reddish, but turns to more black-skinned fruit as it warms a touch. Some sugar and alcohol hits it and it becomes like a nutty European apertif. Caramelish malt rounds it out. Grassy hops rise towards the swallow. The caramel never fades, but it turns darker as the roastiness and burnt character rise, eventually leading down a thin trail to deep-charred character in the dry finish. Bitterness is solid. Dry, roasty finish with a flash of fruit, some lingering caramel and honey-drizzled nuttiness, and then almost-raspy roasty bitterness. Leaves a burnt, acrid taste in the mouth like burnt toast... sounds bad - quite nice! The alcohol is always kept in check.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderate carb. smooth.

Drinkability: The alcohol is pretty well kept in-check, as are the bitterness and roastiness - so no negatives. A bit more richness would entice.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter. Says 7.9% abv. on the bottle. Possibly a different vintage? No bottle date.

A: Standard pour yields a fine, mocha colored, 1 finger head with moderate retention. Beer itself is thick, viscous, and opaque black. Lacing is present but nothing special. Also fades rather quickly.

S: Nose is dark chocolate, coffee, a hint of booze. Sweet soy saucy flavor is distinctly light. No fruitiness is detectable.

T: Opens soy saucy and slightly boozy. Grapes. Coffee is in the background and comes to the forefront towards the middle along with more fruitiness. Finish is chocolatey, sweet, and dark fruit (pruney). A bit on the boozy side but no more than most other RISs.

M: Medium bodied, more carbonated than most its style but smooths out as it warms. Oily and sticky in the mouth. Finish is messy and lingers. Makes your lips stick to the glass.

D: Complexity is there and the lighter mouthfeel is actually a welcome aspect here. Not a BIG RIS that is defined by over-the-top heaviness but very enjoyable. Wish I had access to this one as its definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of tempest
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared this with a couple friends. It's a nice enough beer, but tame for the style. And really, no 8.5% beer should be short on character like this one. There's a pleasant smoky character followed by creamy chocolate, but not much else. It's bland for one of the potentially richest beer styles out there.

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Photo of eliz108
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%

Photo of russpowell
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Sebletije, cheers Seb!

Pint bottle pours a claret toned mahogany with a finger of mocha head. Above average head retention & lacing, on the cusp of a 4.0

S: Dark fruits, leafy hops, toffee & cocoa powder

T: Dark fruit, licorice, iron & roasted malt up front. Powdery cocoa, mocha & a touch of warming booze as this warms up.

MF: Smooth, near zero carbonation, some oilyness

Drinks fairly easy for the style, there are many better ones out there, but this is a solid citizen in that RIS community! Almost turns the corner to near greatness, not quite

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Photo of bditty187
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black, ruby highlights are noticeable in spots, small, quick to dissipate darkish-tan head, no lace. Disappointing nose, hollow malt aroma… no development beyond that. Pleasant palate though, toasty chocolate malt, some bitterness, coffee notes with well-developed bitterness, seems like a combination of coffee beans and hops, plus a whisper of sweetness. Almost full-bodied, perfectly carbonated, moderately dry but the finish is tacky and tongue coating… somewhat odd.

If you ignore the “Imperial Stout” label and enjoy this beer for what it is, a very good stout, you will like it.

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.22/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Brought back from Wisconsin by Jyppy. Alcohol percentage was listed as 7.9% on the bottle, not 8.5%. Into the Northwind snifter...

A - Dark body with amber tints. A finger of tan head with no lacing or retention.

S - Not the most assertive aroma for an RIS... Nice wood, cinnammon, anise hints to the sweet chocolate and slightly bitter roasted malt backbone. Some fruity esters, but not in an overpowering way. The flavors that are there are nice...

T - Sweet chocolate with nice cinnamon notes at the entry. Slight herbal notes develop towards the finish. Does dry out in at the swallow, and leaves a nice semi-sweet baker's chocolate flavors that linger for a while. All these flavors seemed muted compared to most RIS.

M - Medium body, actually reminded me of a big IPA rather than an RIS. Soft mouthfeel.

D - This is not a bad beer, good collection of flavors, great balance... That being said, this RIS lacks balls. At a shade under 8%, and without the big bitterness one expects from an RIS, this just doesn't fit it's style. Enjoyable beer, but not what I expect from this style. You have been forewarned.

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Photo of beveritt
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 16 oz brown bottle into a Duvel chalice. Label is flat paper and depicts the bulb shaped domes so typical of Russian architecture. No clear freshness date, but there are some numbers stamped on the neck. Picked this up while in Tennessee a few weeks back.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of thick, viscous dark tan head. This settles very slowly to a still complete cap of foam. The beer itself is black as night and completely opaque.

Smell: Strong sweet molasses smell with just a hint of roasted barley and anise in the finish.

Taste: Sweet taste of dark fruits and caramel upfront. This fades quickly to a not quite substantial enough backbone of chocolate and coffee malt with slight undertones of roasted barley and oatmeal smoothness. Lingering aftertaste of chocolate sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation with great body; very thick and viscous.

Drinkability: Not bad, but certainly not up there with what I would consider some of the top notch yet widely available Russian Imperial Stouts. Sprecher does a lot of styles very well; I just don't think this is one of them.

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Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 291 ratings