Cafe BORIS | Hoppin' Frog Brewery

235 Ratings
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Brewed by:
Hoppin' Frog Brewery
Ohio, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jampics2 on 08-08-2010

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 235 |  Reviews: 34
Reviews by jampics2:
Photo of jampics2
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 6th Annual Blues and Brews festival at Stan Hwyet Hall in Akron, OH on 8/7/10.

Fred was kind enough to present me with a nice pour, probably about 4-6oz, and I did this review on a clean palate. This beer is pitch black, much like the regular BORIS. Opaque and foreboding, it really does look like a moonless night in the glass. The only big flaw is that the dark brown head fades as quickly as regular BORIS, but overall this is a good looking beer.

The first smell is the primary indication we're in store for a treat here. The roasted malt aromas of regular BORIS tend to come across as more chocolate and molasses focused, but there's something deeper and more wonderful here. Cafe BORIS steps things up with a brilliant fresh coffee scent that is well integrated and not overwhelming. Hints of vanilla and licorice dance around, making the experience that much better.

The original BORIS is a sweet RIS and some critics claim that the lack of charred/burned notes makes it unbalanced. I disagree - in fact, while fresh BORIS has some notable hoppiness, I love it with 6-12 months of age on it because I don't think this beer needs an intense bitterness or lingering roast to be complete. The oats smooth things out and the chocolate is just perfect to my ideals as dictated by my palate. So, to be brutally honest, I was concerned the coffee would add unnecessary bitter qualities. Well, the most amazing thing about this version is how the coffee really lifts the sweetness by completing the spectrum. As any photographer can attest, contrast can make individual colors and subjects pop. Here, the principal holds true as the coffee is fresh and not overly acidic, adding just enough roast and some mild nuttiness to the fray. Has Fred done the impossible? Some may say that claiming that this is better than regular BORIS is utter blasphemy; I say it's delicious *cafe* blasphemy. I have a feeling this is going to be production-ized soon, so keep an eye out and buy on sight. This is a must try for any Russian Imperial Stout lover.

Mouthfeel is rich and thick with creamy carbonation. It's not too sticky, but the finish leaves just a touch of noticeable residue in the mouth. But overall there's a really nice feel to this beer.

Overall, this was a winner in my book. It's not the world's most drinkable beer as palate fatigue sets in quickly, but it's excellent for the style and is truly an enjoyable experience. Fred and the frogs, you asked for feedback and here it is - this is easily good enough to bottle and I encourage you to do so, no real tweaking necessary after this pilot batch. Thanks for representing at Blues and Brews. After the gates opened up to the general public, we all noticed that you easily had the longest line for beer. Everyone I asked said it was well worth the wait. Congrats on another wonderful addition to the portfolio. Cheers!

 2,893 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Chris_Panos
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Marius
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

75cl bottle. Pitch black, oily pour, with a fine-grained dark espresso head that gives way to a thin lacing. Smells of dark cherries, milk chocolate, coffee, cocoa, oak. Tastes like smoke, roasted malts, dark cherries and alcohol - not much coffee in this one. More light bodied than the pour would suggest, with a low carbonation and bitter chocolate aftertaste.

 363 characters

Photo of stephenlee
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of HeyYoMar
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.12/5  rDev 0%

Photo of rwilde
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of HoppySeb
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of marmstrong1212
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Mar02x
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MuFugga
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of SomethingClever
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz poured into a snifter

A: dark as a winter in hell, super mocha head.

S: roasted coffee, chocolate such a deep roasted smell

M: thick it clings you are going to taste this for hours after you drank it it just coats your tongue

O: this beer is deep black, coffee roasted, it's thick it's just well a great stout with coffee kinda great actually this beer is something you want to drink

 393 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz. bottle into a Surly teku. Shared with schen9303.

One of the deepest, darkest beers that I've ever poured. Nose is tart coffee beans, creamy hop bitterness, liquorice, and roasted malt with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Very aromatic but maybe not as sweet as I'd like. Beer opens chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee upfront. The creamy hop presence from the nose is present but its muted. Chewy in the middle with hints of fudge and more coffee. End is roasted malt, dark chocolate and smoke. Great balance. Body is thick and chewy with very little carbonation. Slick and heavy in the mouth and goes down slightly hot but oily.

Incredible body on a really well made and balanced beer. Would love to see this barrel-aged.

 727 characters

Photo of Mesch
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of woodchip
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.79/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Small khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Coffee and cola. Some dark chocolate.

Taste - Sweet. Bitter coffee. Less cola, but it's definitely there in the finish. Nutty, too.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Medium heavy.

Overall - I still think the base beer is better than all the treatments.

 362 characters

Photo of beerhan
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A-Jet black with a lovely dark brown head. Super thick appearance that is rather deceiving.

S-Smells like cheap coffee, hazelnut, gas station creamer that has been sitting out for hours.

T-The taste of this honestly reminds me of bad coffee that has been sitting out for hours and slowly gets cold. It is rather creamy but there are some minute chocolate notes left and a hint of licorice.

M-Nice thick body with almost too little heat. The coffee over dominates the flavor and all other aspects of this beer making it almost a chore to get down.

O-Regular BORIS is a lot better than this. The coffee is just not good and it makes this hard to get down. I would not recommend this to anyone especially when you can get three times the amount of founders breakfast stout for the cost of one bottle (14.99).

 809 characters

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Cafe BORIS from Hoppin' Frog Brewery
4.12 out of 5 based on 235 ratings.
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