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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: 285
Photo of oberon
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
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 jera1350
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a tulip a semi-viscous solid black. The head is a chocolate brown color and appears creamy with some nice lacing.

A lovely cocoa and chocolate bar smell fills the nose. Lactose sweetness as well with caramel and tootsie roll notes.

Roasted malt, big chocolate presence, a little bit of coffee bean, caramel and toffee notes with some lactose like sweetness and creaminess. Toasty finishing with some molasses.

Really nice carbonation lends a creamy smooth feel. The body is not the biggest, but it is only eight and a half percent so I would say it's right on. Dry finish on the palate.

Drinks really nice for the style. A nice RIS that in my opinion is much better than it's overall score of a B on here. Lighter for the style, but still all around well crafted.

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Photo of anglagard1
4.06/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let's see, what can I add to what has been said? To me this is a good introduction to the style. Russian Imperial Stout is not for the feint of heart, and had I tried a Rasputin first, I probably would have run and hid. This does not have the separation of flavors the Rasputin has, but it doesn't exhaust me quite the way Rasputin does. Rasputin is an intense experience, Sprecher is a little more relaxed. I can drink 2 Sprecher 16 ouncers, whereas I couldn't crack open a third Rasputin.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours pitch black with a thin off-white head that dissipated very quickly. Minimal lacing.

S: Some nice notes of chocolate intermingled with hints of dark fruit and roasted malt.

T: Lots of roasted malt, with a little nuttiness and suggestions of smoke as well. Some coffee in the finish.

M: Just a touch thin here, but still full bodied.

D: An all around solid brew here. Nothing earth-shattering, but a simple, drinkable RIS. Good for the price too.

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Photo of farrago
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Standard pour creates two fingers plus of deep brown foam, high quantity of larger bubbles present which hampers retention, the lacing forms a solid sheet down the glass sides before eventually breaking off into streaks. Pure, opaque black liquid top to bottom side to side. The nose slowly builds into a crescendo of coconut, bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch, licorice and black grape, cherry, plum, apricot fruit, splashes some challah bread, baking dough as well as a touch of orange marmalade, while not distinct bit-by-bit, the hops help maintain erect posture in your nostrils. Full-bodied, stern and steely mouth presence like the beam skeleton of a building just under construction. Not a sweeter sort of RIS, offers as much dry oats, grains and straw as chocolate, coffee, caramel or butterscotch. Comes across as a "sturdy" or "rugged" sort of beer, licorice, pine, menthol and then the cherry, blackberry fruit not that pretty, more so chewy. The carbonation, to its credit, softens the mouth feel and helps thing saturate the palate. Given lack of sweetness, the char is also subdued. Develops an earthy, sour twist at the very end. Smooth and sessionable over remarkable.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to ewright for this bottle.
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Dark black with a small amount of light brown head.

S - A lot of sweetness up front. Notes of coffee, chocolate, molasses and licorice.

T - Extremely sweet. Dark roasted malts, milk chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, coffee and some licorice. Seems like a milk stout to be due to the sweetness.

M - Light to medium body, slight chew.

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Photo of tempest
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
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 JohnQVegas
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into Samuel Smith tulip imperial pint - grabbed this one at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.

Pours deep black in the glass; some dark brown highlights that were visible while pouring are nowhere to be found now. Big, full two-and-a-half finger creamy brown head settles slowly down into a thin cap over time, leaving sporadic walls of lacing clinging to the glass as it slowly settles in. Mean looking beer.

Nose is really nice - big dark fruit notes start things off, beautifully paired with molasses, a bit of chocolate, and some charred wood and burnt sugar back there too. Really nice - deep, rich, complex.

Taste is nice enough, though it doesn't come close to hold up to the nose. Starts off with a nice bit of char, deep earthy bitterness, more dark fruit, wee bit of burnt sugar as well. Alcohol is literally invisible - could be 4% for all I can tell. Finish is long, again filled with burnt, earthy notes.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, the char carries a lot of dryness, long finish. Fairly aggressive carbonation.

Drinkability is good - alcohol doesn't show up at all, with lots of flavor, even if that flavor is fairly one-dimensional. Nice beer overall, but not world class.

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Photo of donteatpoop
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Man, this beer smells sooo good. I made my wife, who hates stouts of all kinds, give it a sniff. And she loved the smell and asked for a taste. She didn't like the taste, made the "oh shit, I just drank that??!" face. Whatever, she never likes stouts/

This poured a nice dark dark brown with a nice dark thick cap of burnt umber. The smell was excellent, coffee notes, chocolate, burnt and roasted malts... Really a great saliva inducing scent.

I suppose it'd be hard for any taste to live up to the expectations that arose from the nose on this one, but it did a damn good job trying. Milky-smooth, the alcohol content is hardly noticeable, a nice rich flavor of the roasted barley malts... Just a great job all around.

Smooth finish, dry lingering coffee and cream feeling.

Excellent beer. Must buy more for the winter.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a thick and rich, black and roasted malt scent. There is a nice bit of warmth along with a mild hop aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, creamy black malt flavor that goes down slow with a good deal of hop character. It has a nice roasted and chocolate flavor that rounds out the malt profile. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good RIS. It's rich and flavorful and incredibly drinkable.

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Photo of SummitVA
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Jet black pour with very little carbonation. 1/4" head disappears quickly.

S - Great blend of sweetness and roast foremost. Some coffee and fruitiness apparent. A bit of coconut also.

T - Sweet crystal malts followed nicely by big roast malts. A bit of figs and dates in the sweet finish. A little oxidation maybe? Damn those twist caps.

M - Heavy-ish mouthfeel, but lighter than most of the Imperial Stouts out there.

D - Nice to have such a flavorful, straightforward IS that is only 8%. Goes down easy.

Overall: A nice little beer. Paid $2.50 for the bottle in Ithaca. Would definitely buy a couple more at that price. Not a world-beater, but a very nice "little" Imperial Stout.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
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 Bung
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz. Black/brown around the edge pour, very little light gets by even at the edges. Just a thin layer of dark tan bubbles. Retention is very good.

Pretty sweet aroma, molasses, dark chocolate. Some roast malt, anise, but pretty little.

Almost some milk stout like qualities in here. Milk chocolate, molasses, small amounts of roast malt and smaller anise. Needs just a bit more roast.

Very creamy, almost to a fault. Not all that heavy bodied either though, so kind of takes a hit here. Very easy to drink, but not really quite to style. Maybe a baltic porter, but still would not be great in that style either. Just needs "more".

Still have yet to have anything bad from these guys, worth trying.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A one liter bottle of Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout in a dark blue wax-topped bottle. By the way, a full liter of RIS, pushing 9% ABV, is a bit much for a single sitting. I recapped the last pint for tomorrow night, hopefully it stays carbonated.

The beer pours black. There weren't even any ruby hues around the edges. The cap of foam is a cocoa mocha color. An attractive brew.

The aroma is chocolate, coffee with some fruity booze lingering in the background. On the palate, the beer flows full-bodied. The flavor is cocoa, heavily roasted malt, with bitter astringency building toward the center. It finishes with a boozy warming feeling.

I would like to see a few more hops at the end, some bitterness to balance it all out.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a Duck Rabbit snifter. The decently aggressive pour yielded a solid, single finger of dark, caramel colored head. The body is pretty much as black as you can get...you can force some amber edges with back lighting. The foam leaves lots of lace behind as it slowly receded down to a thin layer...

The nose is somewhat weak...not what I was expecting from a RIS. Some coffee notes, a little hint of molasses and roasted malts are all present.

Well at least the taste is stronger than the nose. A sweet, almost chocolaty flavor opens up the palate and is followed by some coffee and molasses. The roasted malts take over the finish, accompanied by the bitterness of the coffee.

The mouth feel is on the heavy side of medium, creamy and a little slick with very moderate carbonation.

This one is pretty easy to drink for sure! Not as thick and chewy as some other offerings in the style, but still tasty. More comparable to a Baltic Porter I would say...

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - jet black opaque color with a modest tan head that settles into a well retained lacing

S - rich roasted sweet malty aroma characterized by chocolate and coffee scents; some herbal-like hop scents as well

T - roasted malt character noticed at first with moderately strong hop flavor profile that immediately follows, moderately strong hop bitterness on finish fades and leaves a nice roasted grain taste afterward, alcohol noticed as it warms

M - medium body, moderate to high carbonation

D - This is a nice interpretation of the classic style. While the flavors I think are quite remarkable, the feel and carbonation could be improved slightly: lower carbonation & slightly more body (but lower carbonation would help this also). Nonetheless, it's a very good beer and I'm glad I can get this at my local grocery store - an outstanding selection for the aisle.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
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 katan
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 oz into a pint

A - Pours a very dark, motor oil color. Very thick, opaque. Just a hair of amber highlights. Head formation is strong, retained at 2mm in height.

S - Very strong nose, chocolate, malty, some grainy textures. Seems very sweet, with just a bit of alcohol.

T - Starts off with a smooth chocolate flavor. Builds with more bitterness in the mid-stream. Gets slightly more astringent mid-stream, with some roasted barley. Finishes with a potent chocolate note and a bit of hops. Strong aftertaste - roasted barley.

M - Light body for the style. Texture is thin, stinging from the carbonation. Oily aftertaste.

D - Moderate drinkability - especially for the style. Goes down smooth, but only slightly filling. ABV is up there - but this is a RIS.

A solid and very affordable RIS.

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Photo of gford217
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16oz bottle courtesy of EinWeizenbitte.

Pours an opaque dark, dark brown with little light showing through and a small creamy tan head that recedes super fast and leaves no lacing and a small collar.

The aroma is sweet and pretty smoky for an RIS. It's got caramel, smoked wood and heavily roasted malts. Some espresso hints and dark fruits as well.

The taste is even sweeter with seriously strong chocolate and caramel backbone. There is some smoked malts as well. There is a bit of chocolate milk shake going on in the taste. It's a bit sweet and light for an RIS.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and mega-sweet and sugary on the palate. It just seems to sit a little lighter than I would expect.

This is not a terrible RIS but I don't think it holds up to the better examples out there. It's very sweet and not quite as big as the best in the style. Pretty good.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.41/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher Imperial Stout is a black beer with a thick, creamy, dense, light brown head that has outstanding lacing. It has a sweet aroma with notes of caramel and brown sugar. It has a smooth, full body with a clean, dry finish. It tastes a little sweet and very roasty with notes of molasses and coffee. It's rich, drinkable and enjoyable, but an Imperial Stout? It seems like a Baltic porter.

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Photo of SteveS1
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle to a pint glass:

Look: Black with a bit of red at the edges, tall dark brown head, decent retention, good lacing

Smell: sweet fruits, roasted malts, grains, coffee beans

Taste: Sweet malts up front, dark fruits on the palate and tongue, finish is a subtle coffee taste. Aftertaste is bitter coffee.

Feel: Full and mouth-coating, medium body. Slight carbonation.

Drink: Very tasty, but rich. The bitterness is pleasant, not oppressive as in some stouts. Big and malty like any good Russian Imperial Stout.

Each beer from Sprecher has me wanting to try another, and this (my third) is no exception.

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Photo of Natural510
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz(!) bottle with a laser dating of 090291100, which I interpret to mean it was bottled January 2009. Cap says twist-off, but I had to use a bottle opener. Perhaps this makes me a pussy...

Pours pitch-black with small amount of dark brown head and slight lacing. Somewhat flaccid for the style.
Scent of sweet dark chocolate and toffee.
Flavors of deep burnt malt, dark cocoa and coffee bean, with a sweet sugar undertone. Dissipates clean with only a hint of chalky bitterness; nice hop twang and a fairly dry finish.
Body is full enough for a regular stout, but a bit thin for the mighty RIS. One could argue this makes it an easy drinker, others may be disappointed. Personally, I think of it as a strong Foreign Extra Stout such as Guinness or Dragon, and it's still quite good for what it is...

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Photo of JoshRadTxist
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a clay mug.

A: Initial head is an awesome, frothy, fruitwood color. Subsides slowly to leave a bit around the rim. Beer is dark brown, not translucent.

S: Worst-scoring aspect of the brew. Hint of the malt, and solventy.

T: Pretty good taste. Definitely has Sprecher's mellow basic malt-bittering hops-peat profile. Nice malt. Nothing dazzling the palate here, but sometime during the tasting I swear there's a bubblegum aftertaste. Down score for slight mediciney aftertaste.

M: Nice. It's a full beer without being chewy. No carbonation dancing on the tongue, but has a good body. Silky! Leaves the palate dry after each sip, which I like.

D: Probably too drinkable at 8.5%, but that's nice in a way.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this one.

Poured into a chalice a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, with some caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, with a very nice dose of chocolate/toffee, and caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, really liking this brew.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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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Brewmaster's Premium Reserve Russian Imperial Stout from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.66 out of 5 based on 285 ratings.
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