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 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 Knapp85
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a very dark brown, basically black once in the glass. The head is cream colored. The lacing an retention is decent. The smell is roasted with a dark fruit sweetness. The taste of the beer is roasted, slightly chocolatey with a subtle tartness. The mouthfeel is a bit over carbonated and thin for the style. Overall it's decent but nothing like it should be for a RIS.

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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 largadeer
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a solid opaque black with auburn highlights and a dark brown head. Great color on this one, but the head recedes pretty quickly.

Smell: Sweet milk chocolate dominates the aroma, though undertones of licorice and toast appear as it warms.

Taste & mouthfeel: Tons of milk chocolate flavor here, as the nose implies. Beneath that there are notes of toasted nuts, cream and a hint of spicy licorice. This is richer and sweeter than I was expecting for a 7.9% ABV beer, but I can't fault it for that. It's got the character of a big RIS with a more approachable alcohol content. The finish is semi-dry finish with a big coffee kick at the end, though it's surprisingly clean overall without a lot of residual bitterness.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a very thin light brown foamy head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma of black chocolate is pretty intense with some note of roasted malt. Taste is also a mix between some black chocolate and light roasted malt with some spicy notes. Body is a bit thin for the style with some low carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I thought this may lack some complexity but very enjoyable overall.

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Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple fresh bottles at the brewery, now with a new label reflecting the "Premium Reserve" branding. A photo of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow plays up the Russian origins of the style.

Served at 50º into a Map Room pint. Initial aroma of banana yeast esters when the cap is twisted off. Once poured, there's a deep roastiness in the air. The dark tan foam rises and cascades at first. A second pour doesn't generate as much foam.

Slight bitterness and earthy roast in the taste. Bittersweet chocolate, ashy roasted malt breadiness. A sweet raisin resides in the back end, that seems to be concentrated briefly on the front of the tongue. Alcohol is not noticeable.

It's body is where it suffers slightly. While good for your average stout, it's nowhere near as burly as the benchmarks of the style. Carbonation is adequate, some smoothness, but it seems a touch too thin. Drinkability is good, not a bad choice for a 60º day in April.

Notes: After trying a bottle at room temperature, I'd say the 50º-55º range for serve temp. is optimal. I'm planning to age the 1 liter bottle in my cellar, and see what happens a year or two down the road. Edit: the blue liter bottle was oxidized and terrible.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for the bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours pretty close to black with a thin mocha head. Some spotty lacing on the way down. Half a cap and a thin collar. The nose carries some light roasted malt and a bit of chocolate. Also perhaps a bit of light smoke. The flavor is roasty and quite plain. There really isn't too much there. Not much sweetness or anything. A touch of roasty smoke. Dry coffee. Medium body and low carbonation. Okay.

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Photo of mothman
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the same bottle I had. I had a 16 oz bottle with a twist off premium reserve cap on it.

Poured into Boulevard Smokestack Chalice

Pours hardly any tan head. Obviously no retention or lace. Color is a dark dark chocolate brown.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, raisins, plums. Has a few red wine characteristics to it. A very complex beer.

Taste: A big roasty taste to this beer. Chocolate, coffee are right up front. Then towards the end I get a big raisin and dark dried fruit taste. Very dry flavor to it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. A touch of booze mixed in. Full bodied, a decent amount of carbonation, maybe a tad on the low side. Leaves a dry roasted malt flavor aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is good, but not great. It fits the style pretty well, but doesn't go above and beyond. I will finish my 16 oz bottle easily, but that will be it.

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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 jlindros
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a SMBDC Stout tasting thanks to Amy and Michael, but don't remember who brought this one.

Pours a light fizzy head, dark brown molasses color.

Nose has syrupy malts, molasses, caramel, vanilla, candy like, malty sweetness, light oak, kinda like caramel candies.

Taste is lighter, little tart sour flavor as I think there's a slight infection, dark syrupy malts, little dark charred malt with a bit of salty briny char, bitter roasty, hint of chocolate and caramel, bit of vanilla.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent carb.

overall meh, a bit of an infection doesn't help, but this doesn't seem to be a big beer to begin with.

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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 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 TheManiacalOne
3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. wax-sealed bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is deep dark black with a short brown head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, chocolate, dark fruits and some alcohol.

T: Rich, malty flavor of espresso, dark chocolate, a little hops, with a slight touch of fruitiness and smokiness.

M: Smooth, viscous, full-bodied, light carbonation, sticky finish.

D: This one is tasty, smooth, but a little filling. Even so, it's something you can put away rather quickly.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a suitable black body with a smallish, light tan-hued head.

Smell: Malt-minded nose of chocolate, dark caramel, roast, and a light-handed pinch of anise. There's a big whiff of dark fruits present as well.

Taste: Flavors of roasted barley, semi-sweet chocolate, dark caramel, and even licorice greet the tongue on the first sip. A soft background dark fruitiness gently slides in. Fairly restrained hop presence only provides an ill-defined bitterness as you round the corner to the end. Then, it's back to the roast and chocolate until the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: While it's not the most exemplary example of a Russian Imperial Stout as it simply lacks the verve and gusto of the style's stalwarts, it's still enjoyable and worth a try. So, why not give it try?

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My 16 ounce bottle of Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout looks like the picture above, but the cap reads 'Premium Reserve'. I think the two Sprecher RISs in the database are the same beer with different sized bottles and different labels.

Polished mahogany that is opaque, but isn't a complete light sink. Generous burnt orange highlights can be seen along the edges of the glass. The coffee milkshake colored crown is whipped creamy and melts in attractive fashion, but the tattered patches of soap sudsy lace leave a little something to be desired.

If we're talking American stout, the nose holds its own. Since it says 'Russian Imperial' on the label, however, the score must be dialed down one notch. Roasted malt and dark chocolate lead the way. Even so, the beer lacks the power and presence that are required of the style.

Same thing on the palate. My unsolicited advice to Sprecher is to either reconfigure the recipe or name this beer something else. It simply doesn't have the chops to be taken seriously as an RIS. It's far from bad beer, though.

Roasted coffee beans are now at the head of the line. Following along, in no particular order: dark caramel, dark butterscotch and dark fruit soaked in Hershey's syrup. There may be a few shavings of citrus peel as well, but I would never have guessed Cascade, Chinook, Mt. Hood and Tettnanger. The finish is becoming tighter as the ounces pass.

The body/mouthfeel is where the comparisons to a true RIS are the most laughable. Much more malt is needed to fill this sucker out. All things considered, the lackluster carbonation works out pretty well. Light *and* fizzy is never a good thing.

Good thing I didn't buy the 750 ml bottle of Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout, especially since they tend to be upwards of $15. If your expectations are reasonable, this is a decent purchase. Bottom line: at the risk of beating a dead horse, the 'S' is valid, but the 'R' and the 'I' aren't.

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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 womencantsail
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark, dark brown color with a thin tan head that has pretty decent retention.

S: A very sweet nose with notes of root beer, caramel, and brown sugar. A bit of roast and licorice and maybe some hints of coffee.

T: It is surprising how root beer-esque this beer is. Lots of sugary sweetness, molasses, and licorice. There is a slight bitterness as well as a nice roasted character.

M: The body is medium with a lively carbonation that is quite smooth.

D: I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, but it is definitely on the sweet side. This was really a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Coming close to the end of the haul from the post-DLD death march. It's been quite a ride, and I'm not glad to see it go. *tear* This guy pours an opaque black brown (the latter very dark, attempting to blend completely into the surrounding night) topped by a minor bit of transitory ecru mini-foam. The nose comprises darkly roated malts, black cherries, figs, molasses, carmelized sugar, and, unfortunately, a bit of solvent, the only real knock against it. The taste holds notes of black cherries, figs, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, toasted oats, and bitter dark chocolate. The last item there, though, allows a heavy, chalky bitterness to pervade as an unattractive aftertaste. The body is either the heaviest medium or the lightest heavy, with low carbonation and a smooth, fluid feel. Overall, a decent RIS, but not something I would recommend as being representative of the style. Something just ain't entirely right here, but far from entirely bad.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am up late tonight to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road at Vancouver. As such, it gives me an opportunity to drink some of the beer that local, in-person trader Tone77 had dropped off for me. He came by tonight to say farewell as he heads south for the winter.

This came with a twist-off cap, so there was no Pop! or so I thought until I could not open it with my bare hands. I then resorted to an opener, only to reveal it to actually be twist-off. I am so embarrassed! Let us not speak of this again. A heavy-handed pour to relieve my frustration produced just under two fingers of light-brown head with excellent retention. Color was simply Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing precisely ZERO light penetration and just the barest of cola highlights at the edges. Nose had a powerful edge, like dried dark fruits (think prunes, raisins, black cherries) with hints of drying tobacco and a slight medicinal quality. Mouthfeel was medium, and while it was not bad, it was on the thin side for the style. The taste was initially smoky, but it slowly built to an interesting fruitiness. It suddenly dawned on me - chocolate covered cherry! It was not at all what I was expecting, but it was really tasty. I can only shake my head in wonder at my recent non-IPA bent as a self-avowed hophead. The trend is due to reverse itself, but in the meantime ... Finish was semi-dry and I found myself licking my lips and thinking of my mother's maiden name and her side of the family: Kirsch! This just exuded cherry. I think that I shall now lay down.

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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 vfgccp
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

2010 bottle opened 2013.

A - Nice creamy cap of dark khaki head. Great retention and nice lace. Dark brown, almost black body with cola highlights.

S - Super sweet. Plum, molasses, dark caramel, whoppers, tobacco.

T - Medium roast ice coffee, coca cola, molasses, blackened toast, burnt caramel. Great finish.

M - Medium-light body is surprisingly thin for the style.

O - Drinks like a flat cola with charred edges - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a shade sweet, but it's got a nice roast character and great integration.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours midnight black with a minimal tan head that does not really stick around long. Nose is thick with molasses and malts. Flavor is thick as well. Loads of malt. High amount of molasses. Mild roasted aftertaste. Feel is a bit thin on the liquid, but the carbonation is decent. Overall very easy to drink, at first. Afte the first half it gets harder to drink as it seems to get unbalanced in it's roasted edge. First half good, second half...not so good.

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

On-tap at the brewery:

Pours black with a brown head that leaves some lacing.

The smell is of toasted dark bread, coffee, chocolate, licorice and a hint of alcohol.

The taste follows the nose. It's a roasty, drier version of the style. Carbonation is slightly high for the style, but it does have a smoothness to it.

Could be richer, but pleasant as it is. Enjoyable overall. A bit different, but it works well enough!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big, black color. Huge, towering, cocoa-hued head.
Aroma: soft, but showing hints of coffee and chocolate, sweet and yummy.
Lush mouthfeel, but short finish. Rather abrupt, actually. Body is not as full or as deep as I'd like in an imperial stout, but these words were captured during my notations on this botttle: "Warm, rich, chocolatey, toasty, bits of licorice...yum...suh-weet.."
I love Imperial Stouts, and I liked this one, a fairly middle-of-the-road effort, not bad.
Thanks to jeffboo for the gift of it.

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