Old Baba Yaga
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #869
Ranked #4,479
4.22 | pDev: 9%
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States
Notes: Named for the witch who guarded the fountain of life and death in Russian folklore, the black depths of this Russian Imperial Stout hold coffee, licorice, and bittersweet chocolate flavors.
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Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 52 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of smcolw
smcolw from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep dark brown where no light passes. Modest starting head, but the rim bubbles remain throughout the tasting. Very little lace.

The aroma reminds me of sweet caramel and cream. It's like an ice cream with notes of vanilla. I don't smell any coffee or chocolate.

The start of the taste is mellow but the swallow is strong with alcohol, dark chocolate and hop bitterness coming through. Thinner body than I would expect from the sweet smell. Moderate carbonation. The aftertaste lingers in a subtle way with plenty of alcohol, cocoa, and a berry like sweetness.

Apr 28, 2018
Photo of BFCarr
BFCarr from New Jersey

4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with no head. Aroma is coffee and dark fruit. Taste is molasses, smoke, coffee and chocolate. Feel is a bit thin for an imperial Stout but still good. Overall, a good RIS but just shy of great.

Aug 26, 2016
Photo of Phil-Fresh
Phil-Fresh from California

4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Complex aroma of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee-like, light dried fruit, along with a slightly vinous barrel character.

A: Jet black color, totally opaque, with a thin khaki head that slowly recedes into the glass.

T: Rich and deep roasted grains with chocolate/coffee like characteristics, light fruity esters, with a light slightly vinous oak character.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation, very smooth silky texture.

O: Excellent; the beer has a great roasted malt and light ester aroma and flavor that is well-complimented by the slightly vinous cognac barrel.

Aug 18, 2016
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, caramel, toffee, licorice, and vanilla frosting aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, fudge, caramel, toffee, molasses, dark fruit, red wine, and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic mix of cocoa, fruit, and sticky sugar flavors that make this one a treat to drink.

Serving type: on tap.

Feb 16, 2016
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DarthKostrizer from California

4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black with brown laces on the bottom and 1/2 inch head and some lacing

Smell: Has a very candy like sweetness to it mixed in among some bitter chocolate and coffee. Smells like high end coffee house

Taste: Very bitter chocolate upfront with coffee and vanilla in the middle and finishes with some oak and other unique flavors that I am at a loss of words for

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and low carbonation and a perfect velvety silkyness to it

Overall: Really amazing beer this is hands down my favorite Bear Republic beer and I highly recommend giving this a try and I cant wait to get another shot at drinking this one myself

Aug 26, 2011
Photo of MrVonzipper
MrVonzipper from California

4.89/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap @Stone 15th Anniversary VIP section (chose to have this as my last taster after smelling and tasting a friends)

Dark dark brown. Taster pour So not much to very little head to talk about and consider but I would think this beer could have a pretty solid creamy head.

Huge nose! Smells like dessert at a nice coffee shop. Great chocolate and coffee notes. Faint bourbon. Robust yet not overwhelming. 

Phenomenal flavor and balance. Sweet balanced bourbon up front. Chocolate and coffee and dark malt are in perfect harmony. 

Smooth creamy. Medium bodied. Low carbonation.

Overall this beer is just outstanding. I hadn't really had many Bear Republic beers until fairly recently and I have been more and more impressed. This beer just puts them over the top. Amazing in every way.

Amazing beer. 

Aug 22, 2011
Photo of sprucetip
sprucetip from Alaska

4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Belmont Station. What a nice surprise this was!

Black, thin film and ring of foam remain after the head falls.

Rich. Molasses and booze foremost, with some roast underneath. Slight burn doesn't detract. Sweet malt and chocolate trying to be noticed.

Rich malty and sweet with some balancing bitterness, chocolate and molasses. Pretty close to smooth, and very complex. Boozy, but not too much.

Low carbonation, rich, full, and smooth. Finishes clean.

Could not and should not gulp this, but I could sip it until I fell over. It's yummy. Wow.

Apr 09, 2010
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squaremile from Oregon

4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The best way I can describe this beer is like having Nogne-0 Dark Horizon 2 without the insane alcohol burn. The berry flavors have the same presence as they do in natural processed coffee. It provides a great balance to an assault on the palate of burnt flavors, roasted almonds, and a smooth almost milkshake like mouthfeel. Nose gets a bit nail-polish-y after awhile, and there are some hints on the palate of blueberry pie. At 11% this is a beast. Best imperial stout I've had in 2010 so far.

Mar 18, 2010
Photo of jdense
jdense from Oregon

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 2009 HAF.

Dark brown opaque brew, near black, dark tan brownish head. Chocolate in the nose, with a bit of smoke, with same taste profile and a bit of vanilla for good measure. Paired with the Willamette Valley Cheese (Gouda) this is a very tasty beer. Nicely carbonated. High alcohol heat makes this a nice cold evening sipper.

Dec 10, 2009
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25 from Oregon

4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hesitated to review a 'festival beer' after the first 4 oz. taster - or even the second. After the third one, a first pour on a Friday afternoon at Portland's Holiday Ale Fest 2009, I relented. A collective 12 oz. over 3 consecutive days, to a plastic mug.

A: Deep and dark and as close to 'black' as I can tell through the mug, though shades of auburn show at the edges. Stubby 1/4" head of tawny cinnamon cream, speckles of lace hugging the sides of the mug.

S: Dark chocolate, less-than-subtle vanilla, holiday spice and a heady booziness (but not a blatant nostril-searing heat); a pleasing wood char. Sniffable from several inches away after a chilly pour, completely alluring from a couple feet (despite competing aromas) as it warms.

T: Fudgy chocolate, robust coffee roast, chewy berry fruit, a layer of vanilla and a fine 'creme brulee' singed sugar sweetness, all wrapped within a woody 'barrel' coating that's soothing and intoxicating all at once.

M: Heavenly thick coating, heavy and coating, yet far from sticky. Long-lasting bitter roast, a dessert-chocolate creme sugariness, the finest wood grain. Mellow and silky and just plain fantastic.

D: At 11.5% (or more?) it's a heavyweight among big 'winter' ales found at this venue; maybe a bit too much heat for easy drinking now, but certainly worthy of seeking - I tried it 4 times (including as finishing someone else's) in 3 days.
I would LOVE to have this beer again; I'm BEGGING Bear Republic/Peter Kruger to find it in their hearts to bottle or keg more - my wife and I agreed it was likely the finest of all the beers we tried this week. Heartily recommended!

Dec 05, 2009
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John_M from Oregon

3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Portland holiday ale festival.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is as you would expect, with a powerful nose of licorise, dark chocolate, coffee and noticeable booze. Flavors replicate the nose, except I'm a bit surprised how sweet and boozy this beer is. Still, the beer imparts a considerable amount of flavor, and mouthfeel is rich and full. However, the noticeable alcohol detracts just a bit from this beer, and there's no doubt this is a sipper. While an impressive beer, the high alcohol and significant sweetness make it difficult to have more then a short portion of this beer at any one sitting. Still, this is a very fine beer to have on a cold winter's night in the NW.

Dec 03, 2009
Old Baba Yaga from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 52 ratings