BORIS Royale | Hoppin' Frog Brewery

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BORIS RoyaleBORIS Royale

Brewed by:
Hoppin' Frog Brewery
Ohio, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jampics2 on 05-26-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 181
Photo of nrbw23
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a pitch black color with a nice dense brown head. Head has pretty solid retention and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- I'm picking up darker fruits, quite a bit of booze, wood, and vanilla. Seems like a normal Boris with quite a big kick.

T- Taste is really good. Tons of whiskey action here, with vanilla, dark fruits, coffee and a solid booze to it.

M- Full in body and low carbonation.

O- I'm pretty impressed with this one and this is my favorite of all the Boris brews by far.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a widemouth tulip, pretty much pitch black with a dark tan head. pretty good lacing.

nose is pretty boozy, heavy whiskey aroma, faint vanilla, with some nutty caramel, touch of coffee. pretty good.

coffee and dark caramel upfront, big crown whiskey flavor dominates the finish. mild roasted character throughout, finish has a slight bit of vanilla and a touch of tannin.

mouthfeel is spot on, heavy enough but not overly sweet. overall this beer is pretty good, not worth 15 bucks but it was definitely worth trying out.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 06/25/11 notes. Shared this with some friends at a local tasting. I'm a big fan of the BORIS series of Hoppin' Frog beers, as well as Crown, so was very excited to open this one up. Served side by side with BORIS, a 2 year olf bottle of BA BORIS, and DORIS.

a - Pours a somewhat murky, very dark brown color, with one to two inches of dark tan head, and moderate to high carbonation evident. Sparse lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of bourbon, sweet fruit, musty, oak, chocolate, alcohol, and roasted malts. Good, but a slight musty note to it, which along with the alcohol keeps it from being better. No where near the nose of the 2 year old BA BORIS.

t - Tastes of bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, oak, sweet dark fruits, and lightly musty again. Alcohol heat to the taste, though again, still good. BA BORIS was insanely smooth, and gets the edge here again.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. A creamy, lightly swete body, but also boozy due to the alcohol heat.

o - Overall a bit disappointing. Don't get me wrong, it's a good beer, but the BA BORIS blew it out of the water in every aspect other than appearance. I think with a year or two on the bottle it could be great, but right now, it is only good.

My order from best to worst went: BA BORIS, BORIS, BORIS Royale, DORIS, with normal BORIS slightly beating out Royale. Would rather grab a couple bottles of BA BORIS off the shelf and leave a few in the cellar for two years.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe, served side by side with a few other BORIS's provided by others. I'm such a bum.

Beer looks like BORIS, black, dark, tan to brown head, small bubbles, a little bit of lacing apparently low carbonation.

Lots of liquor in the nose, I suppose this is the Crown Royale. Mild oak and malt in the nose, whiskey wins.

The finish of this beer is bitter but with tannins, the midpalate is mildly vanillic with some mild malt sweetness, the forward of this beer is all liquor all the time. It is definitely hotter than the others but the others were also older. I enjoyed it but it would interesting to see it with a little age on it. I'd have it again.

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Photo of stakem
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jaymesbawned for picking this up for me.

Before I even open the bottle, I'm loving this beer. The label and notation on the side is priceless. Shared with Slatetank and wishuwerebeer, poured into a DFH snifter. This brew is black, a fine ring of lighter brown clarity is seen through the edge when the brew is held to the light. A finger of rich, creamy tan head appears and slowly fades to a ring that holds around the edge of the glass. Some spotty lacework clings to the glass.

The smell of this brew is cocoa sweetness somewhat reminescent of brownie batter. Rich in chocolate with hints of sweet vanilla and coconut that is lightly toasted with an increasing amount of wooden scents. Some tangy whiskey elements come through the back imparting a bit of a fruit scent. As the brew warms, the alcohol presence gets increasingly more bold to the point of being fusel.

The taste is infused with whiskey to spirit spiked alcohol burn. Rich cocoa batter mixes with a woodsy element and some fruity alcohol esters. There is a contrasting herbal hop element which faintly makes it's presence known. Plenty of rich chocolate character mixes with the alcohol on multiple levels to create a deep layering of enjoyable flavors. The aftertaste leans more on the oak aspect than through the body with a lingering taste left in the mouth that isnt quite roasted yet delicious in a chocolate caramel or toffee sort of way.

This is a full bodied brew that is chewy and creamy. Very smooth feel despite it's modest level of carbonation. The alcohol is bold yet well integrated in flavor. If you are sensitive to alcohol burn in a beer, I'd suggest serving this one a little cooler so the alcohol doesn't come out quite as quick. Color me impressed with this beer. It packs a punch seemingly harder than 10% but I loved it. I'm a sucker for a well made barrel aged stout, this one is fantastic. With a base like Boris, I'm pretty sure Hoppin Frog could age this beer in used gym socks and it would still be awesome. I wish I had more of this.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to jale for picking this bottle up for me. Served in a SAVOR snifter along with the regular version and BA BORIS.

Pours a nice black color with a short mocha head and a few spots of lacing on the way down. The nose carries quite a bit of bourbon (Canadian whiskey, I suppose) as well as some oak and a fair amount of alcohol. Light vanilla there as well. The flavor is moderately boozy with a good whiskey presence along with some oak and tannin. Light vanilla as it warms. Medium to full body with a creamy texture and light carbonation. Overall, a very well done BA stout.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am very appreciative to stakem via jaymesbawned for the chance to try this at Stakem's during a recent collaborative brew session at his house. The beer was poured into two DFH Signature glasses chilled from the bomber.

This is one viscous looking brew -very rich and black with an opacity not many can rival with thick quickly condensing medium brown cap with a tiny bead. The head condenses to a ring, but revives when swirled and the lace clings in a spotty sort of random way. The smell is heavenly! it is not just dark cocoa and vanilla, no it is more than that: deep layers of chocolate truffles and sweet caramel cream with the vanilla refusing to relax yet adding to the complexity with a nice deep odor of whiskey to augment the malt smell yet not completely overtake it. The light wood and alcohol scents round the aroma out nicely and aid the mild floral notes in the vanilla quality of the barrel scent. I think the feel is the only area I was impressed by but not knocked out with since it is full yet the alcohol does creep up slightly and a good amount of malt, yet the whiskey creates a lasting alcohol impression even though the bitterness of the hops delivers a nice complexity and balance. I enjoyed the way the body shields the complete force of the alcohol and the drying effect is not as much as it could be. This is not a cloying overly sweet beer even though it has a big malt presence.

This Stout is excellent in so many ways. The initial cocoa and malt flavors with deep vanilla and caramel elements are a great entry point which is just enough window for the barrel flavors to emerge alongside them and spread out with a serious smooth vanilla flavor that washes and seems interwoven with the stout base. A silky element that is whiskey flavored at times and at others some spice elements dominate. The dark maltiness of the brew adds a light bitter component that never really subsides, but yet compliments the hop flavor well and delivers a very cocoa-like quality that gives a sufficent support to the vanilla tinges from the barrel. I love how the flavors are so intense yet don't seem disjointed at all, they work well together as the canadian whiskey becomes a little more prominent in the taste near cellar temperature. I was so pleased I had to savor this one for a while -possibly the best version of Boris I have had yet, just a plethora of stout and whiskey barrel flavors to get lost in.

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Photo of seeswo
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle generously shared by levifunk (thanks Levi!)

Pours very dark brown with a small amount of off-white head. Looks about right. Smell is nice and forward with the spirits from the North. Whiskey, oak, roast and chocolate come through. It smells very similar to BA BORIS, but maybe a bit more interesting. The taste is very smooth whiskey, chocolate, oak, roasted malts. Very easy drinking. Comes together really nice even right now. A touch boozy, but it comes off in this beer like that is actually what you want. Not harsh by any means. Medium body, medium carbonation. This beer was enjoyed two weeks after having a full batch 1 - batch 5 BA BORIS vertical. Overall, I think this was the best of the BA BORIS bunch. We may have made a Cuvee that would exceed this beer, but that took a lot of blending across batches to achieve. This seems to have a smoothness to it that the newer batches of BA BORIS don't have, and in the older ones that do have it, there is something else off about it (batch 1, way to oaky, batch 2, totally different recipe - too malty, etc.). Definite winner.

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

22 oz. bottle. No dates on the bottle.

A - Very dark brown with a small, lingering ring of dense, tiny bubbles. Head is off-white. Little lacing.

S - Sweet whisky aromas (yep, without an 'e') actually reminiscent of Crown Royale. Sweet oaky character, chocolate and roasty malts. Sweet caramelly malts.

F/M - Sweet caramelly and dark chocolatey malts up front. Then the silky sweet whisky flavor. It may be a testament to the power of persuasion but it really has a Crown character. Slight vanilla character in the finish. The dark roasty malts and moderate bitterness help to dry out the finish a little. Medium full bodied with moderate carbonation. The CO2 is just right in fact.

O - Another outstanding offering from Hopping Frog. It's a great BA stout and definitely worth seeking out, especially for the whisky character that isn't found in many other beers, especially any beer I've ever had.

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Photo of Preismj
4.76/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a: Jet black pour with a nice fluffy espresso head. About a quarter inch on a mild pour. wonderful and sticky...great lacing here. I actually noticed that this beer stained the glass after I was done drinking it. My glass actually looked brown. Incredible.

s: a kick of sweet caramel/maple with that booze that I love so much from my Canadian whiskey. Notes of cocoa in the back drop and the malty sweetness that I would associate with a big old steaming bowl of oatmeal. Nothing like a shot of whiskey on the side with my breakfast.

t: so much going on here. I had this beer at three separate temperatures. It was the booziest when cold, which I found odd...but loved that I could drink this warm and get little to no heat from it. Oats and barley with hints of sweetness from a maple like flavor. Coffee and cocoa seem to make an appearance, but the special guest is the smooth transition I get into what I wish I could confirm is Crown Royal. it is sweet and warming, but not in the least overpowering (at the warm temperature, it is perfect). I had high expectations on this one and it exceeded. To be fair, though, I could live on Crown. This leaves an incredible aftertaste as well that is of sweet maple and notes of whiskey.

m: thick as thick can be, but oh so silky smooth. This is like butter swirling on the tongue and it coats and hangs around for minutes. molasses in the mouth.

o: My goodness, this is a powerful brew. At the coldest temp, it is boozy enough to make you question the 9.5%. But when warm, you wonder how anyone could complain about the booziness. However, once you are done...don't stand up too fast because I'd wager the 9.5% was a typo. What a bang for your buck on this.

I recommend trying this at several temps...but the flavors really pop around room temp. This is something to be experienced, and a truly miraculous beer. If you like whiskey...grab it. If you love great beer...grab it.

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Photo of crusian
3/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from goryshkewych, thanks man.
Pours a nice jet black with very little head. Not too carbonated at all, but looks great.
The nose is pretty empty. Almost nothing there at all. To be honest, I just get a bit of booze, and that is all.
Taste is nice and buttery. The whiskey is very mild, and well balanced, while the stout seems pretty basic. I am actually disappointed in this. The stout has nothing behind it. This took me an hour to drink as i kept letting it get warmer and warmer, hoping that it would turn into something more, or at least give me something other than just a light whiskey flavor. It didn't. This simply tasted like a mild watered down whiskey from start to finish for me. I love barrel aged beers, but this just didnt do it for me.

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Photo of Dan3279
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down with?

I was really excited about this beer the second I heard about this and was very lucky to get a few bottles through a friend who got them at the release.

I gently poured the 22oz bottle into a pint glass to find a body that was black as night with a slight chocolate brown colored head.

The aroma is welcoming and strong. You get a big hit of sweetness with chocolate, and roasted malts with hints of whiskey, coffee and vanilla.

The taste was exceptional (almost as good as a $5 shake). You get all of the flavors of the traditional BORIS but the whiskey is a great touch. The thing that I loved about this beer was that to me the the flavors were so mellow and blended together perfectly. For being a fresh barrel aged beer it didn't have the same "hotness" that others do that haven't been aged. To me it tastes like this beer had been aged for a few years.

The mouthfeel was great, for a heavy beer it was enjoyable to drink. As the beer warmed up the flavors really came out and the beer just got better and better.

Overall this is a great beer and a pure joy to drink. I took my time sipping the beer and really enjoyed it. I really hope that they produce more of this beer in the future I would love to get my hands on a few more bottles.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hoppin' Frog Brewery's Barrel-Aged Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout Royale, or BORIS Royale for us nerds, or just Royale for us with no life. This is an introduction to a beer that, by now, needs no further introduction. Aged in Crown Royal barrels with obnoxiously overdone Pulp Fiction references added.

Purchased on my behalf by Proxy889. Poured into a Jackie O's snifter, just to keep it Ohio.

Boris always pours velveteen. His foam always rises slowly to a dense cap. A few rings of lace are always left, clinging to the side of your favorite snifter. His blackened body is always as welcoming as it is foreboding. It seems Boris retains his class, even when speaking with a northern accent, eh?

I've never known a Canadian who could sweet talk me like Boris's cousin. Candied stanzas of cordial cherries waft forth, like an aphrodisiac. Things only get hotter as the beer gets warmer. Long draws of whiskey worn oak soften an alcoholic blow. Indeed a whiskey-forward aroma, but quite the dessert of a presentation.

Having been wined by an admittedly corny, denim-clad Boris, I'm ready to be dined. Generous with the alcohol, Boris is lookin' for some action tonight. The sweetness of the aroma leads in nicely to the flavor, however. We skip right to the final course, coffee with cherry-chocolate torte. A rich black forest mousse builds a platform, hoisting maraschino cherries to taste buds. Things end with an after dinner cocktail, based on a stiff whiskey.

Uhh, I think the date analogies should end before I get to the category titled "Mouthfeel", for everyone's sake. And I can't handle anymore "that's what she said" BMs than I already get, so let's bring this review to a happy ending, before I make a mess of things. I mean I don't want to open anything I can't handle. And let's face it, I've already made this thing too long already. Soooo...
The mouthfeel remains very Hoppin' Frog. Big, buff, studly and stout. A mouthfeel as silken as the flavor and aroma, and maybe even more so. Carbonation is low, and I can even say fleeting. I'm nearing the end of my first glass and its at about nil. So as tempted you might be to swirl up this amazing aroma, tread lightly, lest you wind up with an under carbonated second half. The finish is fertile, supple and nowhere near dry, allowing for the creamy feel to linger as long as the boozy, chocolate laden aftertaste.

I don't know why, but I had low expectations for this beer. I guess, despite being proven wrong many times, that I think aging a beer in a different barrel won't yield interesting results. Well this will be the last time I reside in that opinion. This one is stunningly unique and miles apart from Boris and his cousin from Kentucky. Whooda thunk, the canook is the most resolved of the family tree.

Seek this out! I'm not just saying that because I'm and Ohioan, I don't have any for trade and I'm sad.

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Photo of output01x
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle (no date) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger mocha-colored head that slowly recedes to a thick dusting and thick foam ring. The body is nearly perfect black with no traces of color when held to light. Thick lacing attempts to cling to the sides of the glass, but slowly falls from its own weight.

Dark, roasted malt aromas with notes of dark chocolate and burnt coffee beans. The nose is punctuated by the classic whiskey aroma that really sets this beer apart from other bourbon barrel aged stouts.

Dark malts, dark chocolate, and dark coffee. With a twist. A mellow whiskey flavor with a slight woodiness adds a whole new layer to this beer and compliments the flavors very well. The alcohol heat is far from excessive and can barely be noticed once this beer warms up a bit.

Full bodied with great carbonation, this beer has a decently creamy mouthfeel. The carbonation definitely helps to make this beer drinkable, but the heavy flavor and thick body keep it a sipper.

Unlike the regular Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S., Royale does not need aging. This beer is most definitely ready to be enjoyed now. Of course, I would be interested to see how aging will change this beer, but it is great how it is now.

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Photo of Jparkanzky
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle acquired at the release, poured into a snifter from another brewery (not sure why telling you which particular one, would make a difference)

A) Pours very dark, black, with a mocha head.

S) light whiskey hints, mild coffee

T) Dominated by wood and alcohol flavors.... The coffee, vanilla and sweet flavors from the standard B.O.R.I.S. are present, but the alcohol is still too hot to really let them shine.

M) Feels fairly viscous, more so than the appearance. The alcohol flavors that are ever present in the taste aren't there in the feel of this one, as in there is no real "burn"

O) In the spirit of full-disclosure, I love bourbon... particularly Blanton's, Booker's, Baker's, etc... and Maker's Mark is a quality stand-by for most bar atmospheres. I can't stomach Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam, or "blended Canadian Whiskeys" such as Seagram's Seven or Crown Royal.... with that said, The "light flavors" of Crown Royal ( that make me avoid it in pure form) make for a great beer. I prefer this over the standard Bourbon-Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. variation. Good stuff. My wife and I are questioning the accuracy of the 9.4% ABV after splitting one though!

Again, this was split with my wife, so I would be remiss to not provide her reaction in addition to my own. My wife took a sip, and her exact words were "This is a happy beer" I don't know what that means, as it is from my wife's personal critiquing criteria, but the anger she felt over the amount spent beer shopping that day was at least temporarily calmed.

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

They call it "Royale with wood"

Poured from bottle into pint goblet -No best by date visible -*( picked up today at release pretty sure it's fresh)

A: Poured as black as Jules hair from Pulp Fiction - one finger head that dissipated into a thin tan lacing,good carbonation.

S:Deep roasted malts with slight whiskey,chocolate hints.

T: Dark bitter coffee with deep roasted malts, bakers chocolate, hints of molasses,slight warming whiskey hints,some wood chip taste as well.

O: Overall this one hit the spot -The whiskey hints were present but by no means overpowering,very smooth and mellow -The coffee and chocolates were well blended and balanced , very well made RIS - easy to drink.

Side note -I love the Pulp Fiction twist they put on the lable the frog with Jules hair and mustache and the beer discription is classic.

Fortunate is he,who in the name of brewing and good beer,shepherds the weak through the valley of macrobrews. For he is truly his brothers keeper,and the finder of lost taste buds.

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Photo of jampics2
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter. You can tell it's my snifter because it's the one that says "bad mother-shut-yo-mouth" on it. Purchased at the brewery for $14.99 on release day.

At 9.4% ABV, this isn't on the extreme high end for BA Stouts, but I always admire how the Frogs are able to produce a brew with such awesome creamy head and lace. The dark black body is the color of a hit man's sunglasses but even more effective in blocking any light from passing through. Simply put, this is a stunning looking beer.

As I first explore the nose on the beer, I’m intrigued with the smooth integration of the wood and the whiskey. This is by no means a bruiser of a beer, but has some nice expression and a nice evolution as it warms. The base provides notes of chocolate and sweet caramel and toffee. The special barrels have added a nice kick of whiskey and a touch of oak and vanilla. There’s even a bit of the flowery essence this particular whiskey is regarded for. There is a touch of booze, but it’s not reminiscent of raw acetone nor is it solvent, it's simply a big Canadian whiskey notorious for it's brash qualities.

The taste is much less subtle and balanced than the smell, but still unique in the world of barrel-aged beers. The first sip shocked my palate just a bit with the amount of whiskey and booziness, but I got used to the warmth as I proceeded through the glass. It’s as if the whiskey fired off a shot then asked me if it broke my concentration. As for the actual flavors, the BORIS base is present and accounted for, with some nice sweetness and lingering roast, going from a caramel to chocolate to coffee. The whiskey dominates the middle of the flavor with big boozy notes, peaking concurrently with the bitterness of the beer. As it sits, the beer pulls together and gets better as it nears room temp. In fact, it come together nicely and makes me think this is one to pull out and consume at cellar temp.

The beer feels just a bit thinner than regular BORIS, but the oats really give the beer silkiness. The carbonation tickles just a touch at the end. I already mentioned the booze but it really is a nice feeling beer.

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Hoppin’ Frog portfolio, and I love the spirit of experimentation this beer represents. If you’re a fan of Canadian whiskey, meet your new best friend. If you’re a fan of the intricate subtleties of wood-aging, like vanillin and oak tannin, you may feel like this is a bit one-dimensional. I’m somewhere in between but glad I got to try the beer.

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BORIS Royale from Hoppin' Frog Brewery
4.14 out of 5 based on 181 ratings.
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