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 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 ChadQuest
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Body is thin to medium looking with a thing to almost non existent band.
The aroma is unmistakably full of smoked malts, a rauch-lite note. Lets see how far it goes.
Upfront the flavors present an approachable level of smoked malts, i enjoy how far this one went. Rauch for beginners. Some chocolate on the back end. Chicory is there, and some licorice.

I dig this, but it is a unique beer some will not.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a motor-oil black in snifter. Light tan head that lingers along the sides of the glass.

Smell has almost a belgian Quadruple character to it. Lots of candied fruit. There are plums present. Toffee and caramel are there as well.

Taste is sweet toasted malts. Some molasses and coffee. Chocolate comes through as well. Mild bitterness to the finish. This is very sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Full bodied.

Overall this was a little too sweet for the style. Like a Quad/RIS hybrid.

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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 Pintofbrown
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this in a Premium nonic pint.

Appearance- The head only reached about a finger in width and is brown sugar - hued. The retention is bad and there is barely enough foam to cover the lid.

The body is completely black. That aspect looks great.

Smell- A sweeter head with some toffee and caramel that also features sweet and fruity alcohol. The roasted malt is just barely coming through, and easily stays behind the sweet character.

Taste- This is a pretty sweet RIS, but it works out very well. The front of the drink is all toffee and some of that fruity, brandy-like note that was on the nose. Even some mashed dark fruit kicking around.

The middle of the drink seems to grow in alcohol flavor, which is a little strange seeing as this one is not even 8% ABV. Brown sugar also adds to the experience, and it is not until the finish that the drink really starts to get roasty and has some leathery notes.

This RIS has a nice combo of flavors.

Mouth feel- This is one is a weird combo of creamy and watery. It may just be that the body is a pretty heavy medium, but there is virtually no coating.

Overall- Yeah, a good RIS that will not disappoint. It may not be the"greatest RIS I have ever had", but I certainly have this one again.

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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 DrDemento456
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My parents found this in Philly for 4 bucks.

A - Not very carbonated I get only a slight layer of mocha colored head that turns to a light lace ring. Color is a deep dark black.

S - Smells like overripe fruits (mostly plums) roasted malts and a touch of chocolate.

T - Kind of underwhelming I get almost a cherry roasted flavor (lactic?) and a smooth chocolate finish. Roast is nice though giving it a fairly creamy body.

M - Drinks very good for under 8 percent with an almost creamy aspect.

Overall defiantly not my favorite RIS but not bad either. Still I overpaid and it isn't as big as I like my RIS's so it's really not worth a revisit. Nice try though.

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Photo of soulfly1492
3.27/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Very rich. Coffee, chocolate, molasses, semi-sweet chocolate. Alcohol is only detectable by using quick short sniffs.

Appearance: Pitch black. Very dark, thick brown head. Good retention and a ton of lacing.

Taste: Disappointed right from the start. Flat, lacking boldness. Coffee, molasses, too much alcohol for only a 7.9% ABV brew. Mild anise.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Mild carbonation. Rather watery and a bit chalky.

Overall: Decent, but I'm not impressed. Flat, mild, too much alcohol.

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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 TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: Sixteen-ounce bottle. There are cryptic batch codes printed on the shoulder, but no easily discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a snifter. The color is a beautiful, opaque black; no light passed through when I held it to a lamp. About one finger of very tan, almost brown, head dissipated quickly to leave a thin film and bubbly ring around the edge.

Smell: Very dark and imperial. Exhibits a roasted character that is not overpowering. Dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and black licorice. It is very enticing. It has a brandy-like edge, which is very faint and sexy.

Taste: The mouthfeel is pretty dry and on the thick side. It basically mirrors the smell, but the flavors do not stand out as much as their aromatic counterparts; they overlap deceptively. The roasted character, though, is more pronounced. The dark chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and black licorice are also present, and each sip is punctuated by a little alcohol sting.

Drinkability: I am not an expert on imperial stout, but this is good stuff. It is not excellent, but is quality stuff. Leave it to a brewery from a city with deep socialist roots to brew a good Russian stout.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A new addition to the local scene here...

Poured into my NB globe...

Rich chocolate aromas seemingly dominate right up front with touches of coffee and anise lingering in the background... Deep roasted malts invade the senses with every sniff...

Rather thin feel for an RIS... Taste is pretty good with those roasted malts taking hold of the palate and giving it a good shake... Little bits of coffee and chocolate here and there... Perhaps the slightest hint of booze? Can't say for sure though...

The thin palate sort of brought this one down a bit for me... A little more creaminess and a richer more luxurious palate would've helped this one out immensely... A good stab at the style, but Sprecher has much better brews...

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby brown ale here with little in way of foamy head. Some carbonation is in there.
Big malt bill with molasses and licorice and a nice dose of booze.
Taste is of big roasted malts and dry bitterness.
Drinks thinner then it looks.
Faily flavorful with some swetness upfront and some bitter dryness at end.
A good sipper here.

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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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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 Koufax21
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - deep black pour. Ruby red around the rim of the glass when held to the light. Nice thick tan head that dissolves quicker than expected.

S - chocolate, coffe, fig, licorice. Very complex. Smells great. Little booze as to be expected.

T - yummy. I sure do love the 1st stout of the cold season. Very rich. Lots of bready malt, cocoa, fig, coffee. Very good beer.

M - big and viscous. Mild carbonation, just like I like my stouts.

O - I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I will definitely keep this in the cellar.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sprecher Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout looks like a huge, viscous stout as soon as I start pouring it. The body is black, opaque, and pretty thick looking. The brown head is a around a finger in height, but very solid and it it has good retention and lacing.

A little bit of alcohol in the nose, with black bread and dark fruit.

After pouring and smelling this beer, I wasn't surprised that this is a big stout. I'm a little bit surprised that it is one of the more fruity versions of the style that I have tried. Dark fruits mix with a distinct flavor of black licorice. A little bit of roast and baker's chocolate mix with black bread. The finish has a pretty powerful warming sensation along with a bit of alcohol flavor.

Really thick body, big mouthfeel.

Sprecher has a slightly different take on the style here, but it is just a little too boozy for me. I do really like the label though.

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

16 oz bottle, bottling code isn't clear to a date.

appears jet black with 1/2" dark tan head, but it fades fairly quick. aroma of roasted malt and bitter chocolate. taste is toasty, with some notes of chocolate and coffee. a bit acidic and bitter. on the thicker side, moderate carbonation.

overall, a decent Imperial Stout, but not in the league of the best of the style.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Transcribed from my notebook.

Pours out a rich deep black with two fingers of sandy tan froth, medium levels of lacing left behind with each sip. Smells of bitter baking chocolate with minor chords of roasted malt and mineral essence, tastes mostly of roasted malt with only a medium level of bitterness, not as heavy on the bitterness as the typical RIS, but much heavier on a sort of mineral-like hard water aspect. Also has a dose of almost citric tartness that most RIS don't have, not that it tastes *bad* per se, but just isn't quite to form of the RIS standards. Body is too thin and watery, however, and I would definitely call it the primary issue that needs improvement. Overall it is within spitting distance of being great, but not quite there yet.

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Photo of exonthebottle
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

it's nice but simple RIS a bit weaker than Old Rasputin very drinkable kinda like a root beer stout weak but pleasant and full of flavor. Its worth about 6.70 a 4 pack in WIS so a good price wise a bit of baltic porter mix too so if like sweet sweet stouts a good buy but if your looking for something strong look else where this. isn't. it.

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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 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 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 ThreeWiseMen
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled this at Creekside Brewing Company during a central coast BA gathering last night. This bottle was delivered by Randy Sprecher himself! 2011 bottle.

Poured into a 4oz. tasting glass.

Appearance: About a quarter inch of dark brown foam appears following the pour; it slowly descends to a thin, yet dense, crown. Body is deep black; totally opaque. Nice retention, no real lace. Love the colors!

Smell: Smoke, caramel, floral alcoholic esters, and blackberries. Not too deep. Decent.

Taste: Smoked malt (although Randy alluded that he doesn't like using smoked malts in his beers), dark chocolate, caramel, and char all come to mind first. Roasty throughout, but with a pleasant amount of residual sweetness that rounds out the bitterness nicely. Roast and a light vinous character come through in the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Big and roasty, finishes moderately dry. Creamy, full, a touch warm. Good mouth-coating. Well done.

Overall: This is a solid RIS. Roast-forward with a decent amount of complexity and nice balance. Certainly worth a try!

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

A - Very dark black color with a medium sized, creamy, frothy, smooth, fine bubbles, cafe colored head. Disappears pretty fast but leaves a nice creamy lace.

S - Quite fruity with fig, date, raisin, and some tart berry. A fairly jamy aroma. Some chocolate as well along with roasted malt. Once in a while I get a very slight gummy bear type of fruity aroma too.

T - Tart dark fruit and earthy, slightly nutty, roasted malt are the strongest. Not as jamy as the dark fruit flavors are more tart on the taste. A bit of a chocolate flavor, but more earthy chocolate. Slight alcohol flavor mixing with the tartness.

M - Lighter side of medium with average carbonation. A little on the thin.

D - Eh, it doesn't go down really easy nor is it difficult. A little thin and tart/fruity that makes it so I wouldn't want multiple ones of this, but I could drink multiple ones in a night.

Notes: Had a bottle of the 7.9% ABV before it was bumped up to 8.5%. Not really a full out RIS. A little thin and light. Definitely a fruity, tart stout. Decent but nothing special, just a lighter stout with a lot of dark fruit flavors. Not horrible, but nothing special.

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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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