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

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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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 286
Photo of kajerm
1.73/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I don't buy Sprecher as a rule, but I was at Sam's and got seduced by the cool new bottle. Before the angry beermail comes, let me say this-- it was a swingtop. And the letters were shiny.

Pours dark brown, just a shade under black with a thin ring of tan head and a few spots of lacing.

The aroma is musty and chocolatey with some very subtle hints of molasses. For some reason it doesn't blend together all that well; maybe the stout notes are just too light-- and the coffee is totally absent. With some additional sniffs, I can detect a weird sweetness.

The flavor is a MESS. There's this bizarre, sour astringency to this beer that doesn't taste like normal black malt at all. My best description of the aftertaste would invoke the following flavors: pennies, quarters, dimes, and the Statue of Liberty before it got all oxidized. I love stouts of all shapes and sizes, but this just way too much for me.

As I continue to drink it, I find myself starting to actively despise this beer and feel personally offended by its existence.

It's very thin, which might actually be good in this case.

I can't in good conscience describe the drinkability for a beer that's making me seriously contemplate a drainpour.

This is a nauseating waste of money.

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Photo of beckje01
1.9/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From notes:

It pours with a black color very expected of the style. Then it has a very heavy malt nose. So far the beer is average nothing shocking either way. The taste is a malty bitterness not really a great flavor, just off putting. The whole character just doesn't seem to fit with a Russian Imperial Stout. All I get is the malty bitterness it's one note and to me the wrong note.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.29/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured black with a 3 finger head and decent lacing. Smelled very average but unfortunately tasted much worse than that to me. Disgusting rotten dark fruits, and a bit of a metallic taste. I hated this, and would have drain poured the entire 34 oz. bottle but my friends liked it just enough to drink it for me. I really feel like this was the biggest waste of money in my young beer advocate life.

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Photo of maximum12
2.43/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked a bottle of this up in Wisconsin some time ago & just now rescued it from the fridge after an evening of consuming home-brew barleywine.

This Sprecher brew doesn't line up well in its weight class. For an RIS the smell is light to non-existent, the taste is thin & not at all distinctive, the drinkability is low, as in, less than half a bottle.

Not impressive. I wouldn't bother with this one.

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Photo of ZAP
2.46/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Black with a brown head....smell is of white grapes...almost a bit wine like...VERY thin for an Imperial (but easy drinking on the plus side)..very sweetish with a lot of sweet grapes and darker fruit type flavors (Plums/sweet cherries)...just a tinge of soft cocoa in the background...this is not really what I expect in an Imperial's a good drinking beer, but for this style it truly is below average in my opinion...I am rated low for drinkability because for this style, I shouldn't be able to kick one of these back in 5 should be a 20-30 minute, while this is easy drinking, I rate it low for drinkability because it should be harder to drink fast..the taste isn't what I expect an Imperial to be...I don't dislike it, but again, not true to style...mouthfeel is very sweet and thin...again, I can deal with it, but when rated up against the giants it is poor....This may rate lower in my ratings than some macro lagers and it shouldn't as this is much better and I prefer it...but Imperial Stouts are the major leagues and hitting .200 in the majors is still more impressive than batting .400 in the minors (American Lager)...If you're going to play with the big boys (Imperial Stouts) you better bring your "A" game...this one doesn't...

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.53/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is the least impressive imperial stout I've had in recent memory. it lacks the roastiness of an Old Rasputin, and instead has a sticky toffy character that I really don't care for in spades.

Appearance is an inky black with virtually no head. Aroma is a sweet malty toffeeness, as is the flavor. Mouthfeel is very sticky. I didn't find this beer all that drinkable.

I bought this as a single, believing it to be something new, only to understand that only the label was new!

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Photo of BrownAleMale
2.59/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Capital Maibock pint glass.

Appearance- A very dark brown with nice 3 finger head that does dissipate rather quickly.

Smell- Faint nothingness. There was very little there and I won't justify trying to explains these faint nothingness for a bold style such as an Imperial Stout.

Taste- Not many flavors that I associate with an Imperial stout. Almost like drinking a pop with the slightly bitter hops and carbonation level.

Mouthfeel- Watery and highly carbonated for an imperial stout.

Overall- Very sad especially for the style. Looks nice but that is about it. Really like drinking a shitty porter.

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Photo of brentk56
2.61/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color with a tan head that disappears quickly and leaves just a few shards of lace

Smell: Coffee and dark, but sour fruit

Taste: Opens with a sour fruit element that just stays sour

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carbonation

Drinkability: Fancy blue 1 litre bottle but the beer just doesn't live up to the packaging - avoid

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Photo of Shaggy9356
2.69/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bought at Martignetti's in Allston, MA for 5.99. Cap dipped in wax. Pours rather dark black with a quick fading tan head. Smells very sweet. Notes of mollasses and licorice/good and plentys. Taste is average, Fruity, sweet dates finish of burnt wood. Mouthfeel is way too thin for a RIS. It feels watered down. The carbonation is average to high. They need to beef the body up on this one a bit. I was disappointed. There are so many great Imperial Stouts out there. Not one I would ever buy again.

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Photo of Buebie
2.81/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16 oz brown bottle with a weird code like freshness date that I could not decipher.
00922FL and 090391020

Poured into an oversized merlot glass. Appearance is less then average here. The color is black alright with no ransparency. The head was less then 1 finger off a rigerous pour. Settling to very mild retention around the edge of the glass. Lace is thin and mostly non-existant.

Smell is sweet milk chocolate with a hint of brownies, malt, mild molasses.

Taste upfront is sweet with more milk chocolate, some creamy texture but a bit watery for a RIS with more carbonation then I'd hope for.
Finish is a snappy hoppieness, some chalky after taste that I didnt like. Mild metalic linger after the swallow. Some woody charred aftertones also. Alcahol warming after the swallow. This is a malt bomb.

Overall not impressed, not a bad beer, but it does not stick out from the herd.
At $3 for this bottle I cant complain to much. I'm sure it would be atleast $5 a pint at the bar.
I can say I enjoyed the milk chocolate aroma off the knose.

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Photo of aforbes10
2.88/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

single bottle, way, way, way in the back of a cooler at Murray's in Milwaukee. Pours very dark brown, with a little bubble ring of a head. Heavy malt odor, sweet and toasty. vague dull hops on the nose as well. Taste is malty, somewhat sweet and chocolatey...more like the taste of a milkshake but without the thick body. expresso quality present as well. Almost a wine-like texture. Interesting for the style and in a way that makes me think i wouldn't buy another.

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Photo of swhitt
2.96/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz. bomber, with a wax sealed bottle cap opening. Label says Russian Imperial Stout. The cap was interesting to get off, I had to use my fingernail to peel off some of the wax in order for the opener to get the right angle on it. This bottle is _really_ sealed - there's no way any air is going to get in. A nifty idea.

Poured into my brand new Alesmith Anniversary Glass. Nice and dark, completely opaque when held up to the light. Virtually no head except around the edges with a light wispy dark brown fuzz. Looks like most RIS style beers do with their high alcohol content.

Held this one up to my nose and the first thing I thought was 'wine'. Wow, that's surprising, I thought. Took another whiff and that smell went away. Now I get an espresso, chocolate malty smell. Not a sweet chocolate, mind you, but a bitter, bitter one. It smells like a RIS, just not a great one.

First thing I tasted was the bitter chocolate I mentioned in the smell. Chocolate, followed by very bitter espresso. It seems very unbalanced in comparison to say, Stone's IRS. Last taste is the carbonation mixed with the espresso flavor. Not sure that I like this one.

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Photo of righthereisay
2.98/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased for $2 at Harrika's Brew Haus in Swansboro, NC (A great place)

Poured dark black, dark brown head. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, maybe a little raisin, not sure about that though.

Doesn't taste that great. Nothing worth noting really. Chocolate, roasted coffee maybe. Doesn't remind me of an Imperial Stout, almost like a lame attempt at a dark Belgian beer.

No question, I would consider the label a little misleading. Would never have even thought it was from Wisconsin....I guess that is their strategery.

Anyways, not impressed.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.99/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle into Founders tuliped snifter.

Very dark body... Kinda brackish and murky looking with some serious rust color in the edges and legs.
Smells hugely of bitter chocolate and roast coffee. Very big roasty character with an acrid bitterness.
The flavor has just a little sweetness up front that rather remind me of plums before it turns bittersweet cocoa, dark cocoa, roasted coffee, and very bitter. The bitterness reminds me more of chocolate/coffee bitterness than it does of the usage of bittering hops, but perhaps I'm just projecting that.

Feels a little light of full, very oily, and a bit overcarbonated.

Overall-- far from terrible, but also far from good.
I wouldn't turn this one down, but I won't buy I again. I'll take Pleas the 5th, Expedition Stout, or Founders Imperial over this any day of the week.
The best thing this beer has going for it is that it is always available on shelves here in IL, unlike the ones I just listed. I was hoping I could stumble upon a secret, but alas, foiled again.

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Photo of Viggo
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big swingtop, thanks to grub for opening this one. I still have one in the cellar.

Pours a dark brown, can see clear through it, thin fizzy tan head forms, settles to a ring, no lacing at all, doesn't really look like a RIS. Smell is weird, soy sauce and molasses, smoke, some chocolate, alcohol, oats, licorice, cola/herbs, weird, some things I couldn't place going on in there. Taste is in the same vein, soy sauce, strange sweetness, lots of cola and rootbeer almost, vanilla, licorice, herbal, chocolate, alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, just weird. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, some warming and quite thin. Wow, this is an odd RIS. Too thin, colour is too light, strange aromas and flavours. I don't think I want to drink the one I have in my cellar, this stuff wasn't too my liking. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of Mosca
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nothing wrong with it, but nothing outstanding, either. Dark, hoppy, beery. You know how, when you try new beers you taste and think, "That's ok." And you taste another, and you think, "That's okay." And another, and you think, "Yeah, that's OK." Well, this is okay. It's good enough. If you bought more than one, you'll drink the others, but you probably won't buy it again.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Black in color and it looked like used motor oil as I poured it into the glass. Tan color to the head and faint hints of prickle as it dissipates. Strong malt nose with perhaps some molasses. Strong malt and smoke attack. Thick viscous mouthfeel. The finish is mostly smoke but some grain presents in the finish and aftertaste. I couldn't quite place the grain sensation until my wife chimed in that it simply tasted like bread at the finish. Very thick, very robust, very strong. You can actually get beads of the beer to stand on the surface after the initial pour. I discovered this as there was some left in the bottle after I took a few sips and when I poured it "beaded" on the surface which was pretty cool. Overall I would call it a C+ but to be fair I must say that my wife thought it was great.

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Photo of KidsDoc
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

16 oz bottle poured into standard pint glass.

Pours quite nice near black with some dark brown/amber hues. Soft tan head with good retention - good looking in a glass.

Aroma of semi-sweet chocolate, hints of roasted malt, tobacco.

Taste is unusual. Sprecher has been my least favorite RIS that I can recall. It has more of a sweet and sour mix without a solid robust backbone. I taste roasted chocolate malts but with an oddly citric bitterness. Some sips reminded of soy sauce with near tartness to it.

Mouthfeel is much more thin than expected. It doesn't have the typical siliky-smooth start and middle with the anticipated full body. it does finish dry and sticky. Carbonation seemed appropriate.

Not a RIS I will look to in the future, but glad I tried something new to me (my first from this brewery).

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Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It poured black with a thin, almost one finger dark brown head. The glass wasn't clean enough, so it didn't stay, and thus no lacing. It smelled of dark fruit, malty sweetness, some roast, apple strudel. It's sweet, dark fruits like raisins, apples and plums overtop light roasty malts. It feels thin with some light carbonation. This was nice at first, but a bit too sweet. It's pretty light - good for after dinner even on a pretty full stomach. I remember this leaving a somewhat flat kind of memory in my mind.

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Photo of taez555
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle dipped in a gold colored wax, labeled Brewmasters Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout. 7.9% ABV

Poured a black body with a small brownish tan head.

Nose has notes of coffee, raisins, rich chocolate, dates, espresso, alcohol, and mild port wine.

Medium bodied with a smooth flavor. Dark burnt malt, overly roasted coffee beans and natural unsweetened chocolate. Alcohol warmth swoons in and out and lingers nicely in the finish. A big hop bitterness and a slightly earthy, leafy and mildly citric hop taste comes in the forefront halfway through with an odd balance that never quite sits right. Ends with an odd mix of burnt stale coffee and numbing hop bitterness.

The nose is very inviting and I like it a lot, but the taste just leaves something to be desired. Too me it's just way to unbalanced and the all the flavors never seem to fit together. Decent, but not my cup up tea.

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Photo of brdc
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice looking very dark, almost black brew with a creamy, dense head with good retention and subsequent lacing.
Surprisingly, the aroma is faint. It has alcohol, some maltiness to it, but you really need to "go dee" with you nose to smell anything. Odd.
Taste is at times non-descript, mostly just alcoholic and warming, without any additional particular characteristics other than some roasted maltiness. Nice medium body and creamy, it just feels "too alcoholic" with little flavor. Perhaps it is just too hot these days for this one.
Sprecher has a lot of better brews.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - It pours a deep, deep brown body topped by less than a half inch of very dark tan head that's rather quick-lived.

S - Chocolate, a hint of clove... and bubble gum?

T - Smooth coffee and mild chocolate with a tinge of anise. There's a noticeable bitterness in the finish.

M - Mild coarse feel throughout and even into the finish.

~ Overall this is an easy drinking stout. When it comes to a Russina Imperial, I'm not quite sure if that's what I'd like to see. If you're looking for a stout to start out on, this is probably a good one to sample.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This nearly opaque brew throws out a beautiful creamy tan head that has great lacing ability. The aroma is sweet and alcohol tinged. Some roasted character present as well. The body of this beer is small for an Imperial - medium (if that). The taste is a bit thin for an Imperial as well. What I do get is a watered down roasted malt presence. A light chocolate and coffee taste. A bit of a hop presence. But very little, if any, burnt malt taste or bitterness (which are probably my two most favorite characteristics of an Imperial Stout).

Let me clarify that this is not a bad beer by any means (and might be a good starter Imperial for introducing a novice drinker to Imperial Stouts). But it does lack quite a bit of what I look for in this style.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this one a couple of years ago and wasn't a fan. New bottle size (12oz) this year prompted me to try it again.

7.9%, dob 12/3/11? Code on the bottle neck has series of numbers starting with 120311...

Pours black with a fluffy light brown head, decent retention, decent lace. Aromas are smoky with some dark chocolate trying to escape. Tastes are charred malts, extremely smoky (reminiscent of a Rauchbier), chocolatey, dark roast coffee, faint oak, but the smoke and char dominate the palate. Mouth-feel is rather thin, especially for the style. Finishes slightly bitter with a pine hop profile. Alcohol is well concealed. This was better than I remember, but still nothing worth recommending.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark brown, almost black in color. A little froth around the outside of the glass.
Smell is mostly coffee with subtle hints of chocolate showing up here and there.
Taste is the same, except for some kind of "heavy water" taste. Mouthfeel is medium with decent carbonation. A solid offering.

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Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.67 out of 5 based on 286 ratings.
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