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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Ratings: 286 |  Reviews: 188
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 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 bkilpatr
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a pint glass. 11/18/08.

Pours nearly pitch black with a finger of chocolaty brown head. The head dropped quickly to a thin layer. Aroma is sweet milk chocolate, vanilla, powdered cocoa, roasted malt.

Taste starts with sweet milk chocolate and cocoa powder. That is followed by roasted malt and vanilla. The finish is fairly bitter with dark chocolate. Feel is a bit thin with ample carbonation. Dry finish with a slightly lingering aftertaste. Drinkability is decent. It's not too thick and the alcohol is well hidden.

Overall, not bad but not great. There's nothing that really sets it out from the rest. It is pretty affordable though (~$3 for 16 oz).

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Photo of Yesac
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Appears solid black. Large brown foamy head that settles very nicely and slowly fades to a ring.

S - sweet brown sugar overtone. Mixed coffee & chocolate malts. The smell isn't very strong or complex

T - Along with the smell...sweet dark chocolaty taste with a java finish and slight tingle from the 8.5%. The dark chocolate is very present, I like it. Just a little to watery for my taste.

M - medium feel.. nice coating that isn't to dry or sticky.

D - easy sweet and smooth drinker here. ABV hidden well.

Bonus points for coming in a pint size bottle.

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Photo of Soneast
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with 2 fingers of a thick, creamy tannish head, which dissipates fairly quickly. Minimal lacing.

Smells of burnt chocolate/malt maybe a hint of coffee.

Taste is admirable. A nice chocolate front with a bitter coffee finish.

The carbonation feels right in my mouth. Fairly thick on the tongue, leaves an impression.

A decent Imperial stout. This is a pretty tasty beer IMO. Not a session beer by any means, but great for an after dinner snack.

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Photo of Domingo
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pretty straightforward imperial stout based upon looks and texture. It's dark and super thick, although there's mimimal head and lacing.
The smells are spot-on, too. Dark chocolate, faint hops, a little booziness.
However the taste is pretty one-dimensional and definitely feels like it's missing something. There's a definite coffee and cocoa presense, but that's really all. The finish is bone dry and you start to wonder if it's being served too cold even at room temperature.
There's not really any rum-raisin flavors or anything coming out except the dry dark cocoa and coffee.
It almost reminds me of a double dry stout. The flavors are definitely very similar, only amplified. The texture's similar, too.

I love the texture, and it does keep the alcohol completely in check. That's something Sprecher does very well.

Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, and certainly drinkable...but the whole time you'll be wondering if it's missing something or if it's too cold.

If you like the dry Irish stouts, but wanted a kicked up version, this is probably the beer for you.

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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 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 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 WJVII
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew is as dark as the night, with a thick brown head that didn't last long, but settled into a nice 1/4 inch cap. The smell of this brew is strong of coffee with some hints of chocolate and nice aroma of roasted malt. The taste of this beer is wonderful. I enjoy the chocolate flavor very similar to a chilled cafe mocha. There is a strong coffee aftertaste. I would love a pint of this before work!!! Brew is thicker with a light carbonation that doesn't take away from the flavor. Nice work on this brew.

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Photo of LunaChick
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oh the story I could tell about how I wound up with this on tap.
This is an interesting interpertation of the style. Pours typical--almost black, lush head hold up fairly well, leaves some lacing. Aroma is very strong of roasted malts, chococalte and coffee. Taste is decent but not earth shattering. Mostly roasted malts and coffee. As the beer warms the aroma and flavor of diacetyl pokes thru which for this style is not something I like at all. Slightly more thin in the mouth than I'd prefer. Not as much complexity as most. Fairly high drinkability despite the abv--I had 2 without noticing the alcohol. Other versions of this style hit me after 1. Like it but don't love it.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- black body with minimal brown head. nothing that out of the ordinary here.

S- roasted malts with alot of chocolate

T- about how it smells with an added bitter coffee finish and aftertaste

M- a little thin and watery that leaves the mouth feeling dry

D- the alcohol is almost completely hidden which is probably the most drinkable thing about this. im glad i picked this one up on my weekend trip to WI because its not sold anywhere around here, but this one really isnt anything to write home about and a single 12oz bottle was plenty

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Super dark with only a small head of tan bubbles that only lasts for a few seconds. That is about it.

Lots of rich malt with a good bit of roast. Pretty dry smelling with quite a bit of nuttiness. Mild dark caramel as it warms.

Really clean malty flavor with reserved roast and no astringency. The alcohol is not really noticeable in the flavor or the finish. The nuttiness is there in the flavor, but it is more apparent in the aroma. The finish is somewhat dry with plenty of malt to linger for a long time.

This is a good beer, but I must say that I prefer other imperial Stouts more. The flavor is clean and nutty, but the mouthfeel is lacking for such a substantial beer. I would certainly drink this beer again if presented the opportunity, but I would probably take rogue, north coast, or Avery over this one.

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Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery.

Pours very dark ruby with a good, brown head. Not very opaque but that's okay, it still looks nice.

Smells solid, very strong. More like a strong dry stout than an RIS. The malt is what's strong and very syrupy--no yeast nodes or alcohol burn (or hops).

Tastes like a very, very strong chocolate stout. Not real complex, you don't get any of the cornucopia of burn that you usually get in Imperial stouts, but it's still very tasty. The chocolate is very tasty.

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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 the_beerist
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 DarkerTheBetter
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout in a small bottle. This beer pours a deep dark brown with a hint of raisin that creeps through the edges. The head is a thin collar of creamy tan.

Smells of creamy charred caramel and an afterthought of watermelon with a roasty campfire cocoa.

Tastes of a big and smooth watery caramel with a touch of charred, woody cocoa on top. It's really straightforward and simple, but subtle in its own respect.

Feels a lot bigger than it is with a thin and easy body backed up by a meandering swarm of tiny bubbles.

A nice take of the style, but a little caramel heavy for my liking.

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Photo of DrJay
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bax72 for sending this as part of my BC2 package.
Very dark brown with ruby highlights and a fine, tan cap. The head fell quickly to a ring, producing some short-lived lacing. Malty, doughy aroma with some toffee and sour cherry, milk chocolate and cocoa, and fruity undertones. Mild bitterness with plenty of malt, fruit, chocolate, sour cherry, and mild alcohol. Mild chocolate lingered, along with a hint of licorice. Medium to full bodied with lowish carbonation, some warmth and decent texture. Very good drinkability for an imperial stout. Definitely English in character, not overly heavy with plenty of flavour.

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Photo of biegaman
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz twist-off bottle with 'Premium Reserve' printed on the bottle cap.

Brewmaster's Premium Reserve has a ginger beige head that modestly settles to a bubbly outline. Luckily, it can be rejuvenated on swirls. The body is tar black, opaque, but with some deep ruby when up to the light. Very sparse lacing dots the glass from top to bottom in an uneven pattern.

The aroma required way too much warming before anything came forward. I was happy to find, once they did, notes of dark field berries, coffee, powdered chocolate, and light anise. It smells alright, but any beer that bears the 'Imperial Stout' moniker should smell way better than only 'alright'. It must have more. It's expected to be much bigger, bolder, and far more arousing to the senses, it should have you craving that first sip...

The mouthfeel has a black licorice feel with an astringent bittersweet quality. Bitterness and roast are both low. The body is viscous but not all that filling. No roast? A touch of chicory, milk chocolate, vanilla, blackberry and wood smoke. Flavours, like aroma, are extremely underwhelming for the style and rank within the 'good but not great' category.

This just doesn't have enough of anything to be called an 'Imperial' stout - it's an 'underwhelming' style stout if anything. This could of used more hops and more malts. Add flavour and body and aroma as well while you're at it. This is very light in all respects - mouthfeel, bitterness, alcohol, flavour, satisfaction; this is a 'junior member' of the RIS club.

The beer can be enjoyed, do not get me wrong, but it simply isn't what you want from an Imperial Stout. And indeed, I did enjoy, but I also couldn't help but be a little disappointed.

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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 Gehrig
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time I've seen this locally available so, upon my first trip to the terrific Neil St. Piccadilly, this was a must-grab. Plus, I love Russian Imperial Stout. This is a good representative of the style. Nice presentation, with one and one-half fingers of mocha head nestled atop a black coffee body. More duration from the head would up the appearance score, but this is a good looker. I'm pleasantly surprised with the melange of fruit with molasses and coffee in the aroma. I strongly detect plum with orange peel--very nice.

Very delicious taste, well balanced. I expected more coffee from the label's advertisement, but it's a bit understated--not a bad thing since other flavors emerge to fill any perceived void. The plum and orange are terrific, yet this is far from cloying. Molasses offset the fruit very well. Some coffee, to be sure, but also a little dark chocolate. Very delicious. I'm slightly less impressed with the mouthfeel, which is still good, creamy, and solid. It's just a touch thin compared to others. I think a bit more molasses would do wonders for the mouthfeel even more than the taste, to coat the tongue a bit more. Still, this mouthfeel is no disgrace. Additionally, it's a beer that's easy to down--delicious but also creamy and smooth.

Sprecher is one of the better sleeper breweries in my opinion. I'm quite fond of their Abbey Tripel, and this joins the ranks of very good representatives that Sprecher has to offer. Not the top RIS by any means (Old Rasputin, Samuel Smith's, The Czar, Bell's Expedition, and Oak Aged Yeti rule the roost) but quite good, a bit subtle but more complex than an ordinary RIS. Well worth acquiring.

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Photo of Franchise
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black leaving a thick brown head soft and pillowy but disappears quickly. The aroma is coffee, chocolate, dark beans, fresh herbal hops.

The taste is slightly boozy, herbal, spiced hops, chocolate tones, with vanilla, woody, oak, spicy, that finishes dry. Overall this is a brew more on the lines of a English Stout or Porter than the aggresive malt, hops, syrupy mouthfeel and deep roasted flavors I expect in a RIS.

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Photo of Derek
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a tan head, no retention, slight leg.

S: Alcohol, raisins, molasses, rye bread, underlying coffee & fruity esters.

T: Plenty of fruity ale esters, black strap molasses, dark caramel, rye bread, coffee, modest bitterness, slight alcohol warmth.

M: Moderate to full body, some residual sweetness with a dry alcohol finish, some roasted acidity.

D: Fairly drinkable.

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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 wheatyweiss
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a chalice. From an 8 pack sampler.

Appearance is a dark coffee with no head.

Smell is roasted coffee with fruit. Dark fruit like raisins and dates. Prunes and burnt chocolate.

Flavor is dark chocolate and light coffee with cream and sugar. Dark roasted malt with a bitter flavor that I can't pull out, might be hops, might be burnt malt. Almost a tad bit of smoke with the dark malt. Bitter with an alcohol burn that is covered by the dark character of the beer. Dark sweet fruit is barely there, but is covered up by the dark roasted malts. Like a dark mocha coffee.

Mouthfeel is bubbly but thick, oily on the tongue and clean at the same time. Carbonation is a bit harsh.

Drinkability is average. This is a sipping beer and is not something I would call "quaffable".

Good, I would suggest a try for the price, if you can find it.

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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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