Russian Gun Imperial Stout
Grand River Brewing

Russian Gun Imperial StoutRussian Gun Imperial Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #808
Ranked #34,100
3.73 | pDev: 10.72%
Grand River Brewing
Ontario, Canada
Very Good
Russian Gun Imperial StoutRussian Gun Imperial Stout
Notes: The Russian gun (or Gun as we call it) is named after the Queens square cannon that sits downtown Galt, Cambridge. The cannon was awarded to the town of Galt for its support of the English troops during the Crimean war which ended in 1856.

That year to celebrate the victory during Victoria day the Cannon was fired at noon. The men firing the cannon successfully fired three shots however during the forth the powder prematurely exploding killing both men charring their upper bodies beyond human recognition and dismembering the arms and hands of both men; two children were lightly scratched.

We have crafted the Russian gun to commemorate this local tragedy taking the recipe from an old English recipe dating back to the early colonial times.
Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 166 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Pmicdee
Pmicdee from Canada

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thick beige head. Sweeter than most stouts. Even with a high ABV (8%) doesn’t feel boozy at all. A nice winter stout
February 13 2020

Nov 14, 2018
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polloenfuego from Canada

3.69/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice black color with about two fingers of head. Retention is pretty good and there is some light lacing.

Smell is somewhat muted to me. I get roasty malts and along with it some coffee. I also pick up a touch of treacle.

Taste is nice, the roasts mentioned on the nose come through nicely. Dark chocolate and that hint of treacle are also there.

Feel is velvety and full. A nice sort of creaminess coats the tongue. Carbonation is medium and there is no burn from the alcohol.

I expected nothing from this beer. It is an average RIS, and it has its good points, including price, that make it worth a shot. Don't expect miracles, and you'll be fine.

Jan 18, 2018
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PorterPro125 from Canada

3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 473 mL Can

L- Pours a jet black, completely opaque liquid topped by a 1/2 finger tan head. Decent retention. Fades down to a thin cap. Good amount of lacing.

S- Roasty aromas, as to be expected. Roasted malt, coffee, and a little bit of dark chocolate. Well balanced.

T- Roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a slight creaminess. Dark chocolate persists to the finish, offering a subtle bitterness.

F- Medium-Heavy Mouthfeel and low carbonation. No surprises here... this is a Russian Imperial Stout, after all.

O- Over all, a solid Russian Imperial Stout. A large tan head would've completed the package but we can only take what's given. Give this one a try for sure!

Mar 02, 2017
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I bought a can of this from Brantford whilst in Canada for my son's hockey tournament. It poured an opaque black with no head and no lace. The scent had hints of roast. The taste is nicely balanced and easy to drink for a stout. There is some roast. The Mouthfeel is lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's decent and worth a try.

Jan 16, 2017
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ChrisCage from Canada

4.24/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was bottled Jan 10, 2012...vintage!!

A- This one pours a frothy black color with wee, yet big bubbles on the head.....the head itself is a dark caramel color and it has a creamy fried egg white texture.....many foamy bubbles linger on top of the brew. Carbonation is much too hard to see what is happening and as far as lacing goes....well, this is an impressive area....plenty of thick sticky protein clings to the side of the glass!

S- This definitely smells of a Russian Imperial! Plenty of malty goodness, both sweet, burnt and peaty all the same! Slight boozy character blended with licorice, Earthy roots, and an every so slight hop bitterness on the finish. Nicely rounded overall!

T- The flavors are all over the a good way! There are huge characteristics of chocolate, cream, yeast, burnt toast, sweet malt, burnt almond nuttiness, coffee....the finish is somewhat bittering and astringent in nature....rather nice overall.....the booziness shows to a degree, but I'm not surprised seeing as this is 8.5%.

M/O- This is full bodied in the literal sense and the carbonation is tight and super mellow/velvety. For the age of this Stout, it rounded out superbly and is highly drinkable.....with a sweet dessert, the bitterness of the burnt malt really shows. Overall this is a nice Imperial Stout.

Jun 22, 2016
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Date marked March 2015 so its pushing over a year but seeing other reviews for this with a year plus on it makes me think it holds up well. About 3.50 for the 16oz bottle.

A - Decent head for the age just a 1/4 inch of deep mocha froth that settles to a nice ring. Beer is spot on for a RIS with deep dark blackness in a glass.
S - Sugary dark malts some coffee roast and very mild if any hops. Smells good not soured and well rounded.
T - Ashy roasts making me kind of think of coffee since the reviews below meet some sugary dark malts and some earthy faded hops leaving a dry finish on the palate. Slightly sour so it may be a bit oxidized.
M - Not bad for the ABV it goes down quite smooth and I enjoy the extra 4 ounces on top of the typical beer bottle.

Overall not sure I would get it again possibly fresh someday to compare but its really not a bad RIS balanced hop to malt ratio and easy to sip.

Jun 14, 2016
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CanadianBacon from Canada

3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - This beer poured completely black with 1 finger of mocha head,the head faded leaving an extremely small ring and I don't see much carbonation.

Aroma - coffee, a really small amount of milk chocolate and some roasty malts. really not much going on, just a simple coffee smell.

Taste - The flavor is rich coffee, earthy hops, some light chocolate.

Feel -medium bodied, prickly carbonation, not much of it tho. The earthy hops and coffee make this pretty bitter.

Overall - this is a basic coffee stout. Its good has nothing offputing flavors but it just doesnt stand out on its own. Am I enjoying it? yes. Woud I buy it again? I dont think so, there are just too many beers that a better for the same price.

Mar 06, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle with a bottling date of 30 Dec. 2014 (almost exactly 1 year old) served in a Porter Bar goblet t about 50F.

Rich flavor with plenty of hops to go with the dark roasted grains; this mix produces a taste dynamic that goes from surprisingly sweet up front to mild+ bitterness by the finish, with a good bit of change in the apparent balance of malts to hops along the way. Alcohol is very well hidden in the aroma but more obvious in tasting and produces a warming effect beyond the listed 8.5%.

O: a fine RIS that's worth seeking out.

Dec 24, 2015
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated 500mL bottle at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dries snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Received in a trade with @SebD
Aroma of roasted malt, last entire glass but weakens
Head small (< two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishing to irregular two to nine mm frothy ring and partial frothy layer
Lacing good – partial rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of roasted malt and molasses which balance each other, ends just slightly bitter; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium/full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4

Nov 01, 2015
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drunkenmess from Michigan

4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice, dark black, with slight hints of amber thru it. Very faintly tho...
Thick off white frothy head. That seems to linger thru out, excellent lacing as well.
Smells sugary sweet and dark.
Taste is not as strong as other Imperial Stouts I've had, still rather nice. Tastes of burnt chocolate malts with a sweet kinda molasses after taste that seems to linger after sipping, like most IRS do. Definitely a Winner in my book!
Only if I could find more of it...

Jul 17, 2015
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superspak from Michigan

3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 3/13/2015. Pours fairly opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, light dark fruit, herbal, wood, light char, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, wood, light dark fruit, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Good amount of herbal/wood char bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, wood, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; with a nice roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very good Russian imperial stout style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

Jun 20, 2015
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Three fingers of nougat colored head is easily achieved with a moderate pour. Slow fade yields a wall of swiss cheese like lace all over the glass. Body is a warm blackness that shows only hints of light when held to a bulb. nose evokes the taste buds to water with big coco, chocolate malts and carmel tones all over. With first sip you get an unexpected battle of up front chocolate sweetness and fruit like tartness. Now the tartness is very soft but noticeable. The more you drink the more the creamy coco sweetness takes over. Graham cracker and slight hop resins play the palate also. Mouthfeel is thick towards the back of the tongue. This is a nice drinking Imperial Stout that is just right in terms of size.

Jun 09, 2015
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.56/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce bottle, label says bottled on 2014/AUG/28. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. The brew smells like roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, molasses and a bit of nuttiness. I think the taste pretty much is just like the aroma, but to me it seems the roasty bitter flavors are the strongest compared to the others. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and is easy enough to drink. Low/moderate carbonation. Overall I thought this was a decent brew, definitely worth a try! $5.20 a bottle.

Jan 05, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice Russian Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing. Decent but not a monstrous head with great lacing on the glass. Thick and black in color, opaque. Smells of coffee and roasted malts. Coffee comes through on the front with smoked and roasted malts, licorice and tobacco with a light dose of sweetness to carry it through. Dry but succulent on the aftertaste, with warmth coming through from alcohol level. Very nice offering and would purchase again. An excellent Russian Imperial Stout from Canada.

May 26, 2014
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kevinlater from Canada

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

473ml can consumed jan 13 2017. transparent dark brown. a flavourful stout with a distinct hard roasty finish. unfortunately, this beer lacks quite significantly in the mouthfeel department. still a good brew though

Apr 10, 2014
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taxandbeerguy from Canada

3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $4.95 CDN. Served chilled into a room-temperature glass.

Appearance - Dark opaque chesnut brown colored beer. 1.5 fingers of opulent tan head that lasts a long time. Reddish hues viewed while pouring. Nice foamy little cap that rests on to after the head subsides a bit. The head actually looks like a creamy whipped dessert after pouring. Some sediment noticed at the bottom of the glass. Excellent looking beer.

Smell - Chocolate (dark) and coffee mostly, not a lot else. There is some nice interplay between the two malty aromas, but on the sparse side when comparing the number of aromas to others in the style. Trace smoke aroma.

Taste - Coffee mostly also much smokier than would have been picked up on the nose (which was minimal). A bit of a leather and tobacco combination blended in there for good measure. Slight graininess and breadiness too and ends with a bitter and malty taste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel - velvety smooth, heavy body and a delightfully dry finish that strikes the right chord between "nice and dry" and "too dry" . Excellent feel and weight here. A "big" beer.

Overall - Well executed, wish the nose was a little better a little closer to the taste, since there is significant disparity between the two, but absolutely love the feel of this beer.

Jan 26, 2014
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DaveBar from Canada

3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad Stout from Ontario....

500ml bottle served at 12deg C in a chalice.

A- Very dark. Nice dark brown foam head nearly 1" thick in a standard chalice

S- Alcohol, nuts, chocolate and spice

T- Pretty darn good. It's the saving grace for this brew. Otherwise not so good.

M- Creamy. Very good chocolate sliperies Touch of the bitter nuts you find in Guinness.

O- Pretty good. Have a few to age.

Not bad. Will try them as the months pass. Don't want to save for years.

Food Pairing

This creamy chocolate gem can be enjoyed with....Rack of Lamb with a Chocolate Sauce

Definitely compliment each other 100%


Dec 15, 2013
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark black coloring with a frothy, bubbly, light tan head that settles into a sparse surface coating. Aromas of roast coffee, vanilla, mocha, and some earthy notes. Flavors are very bitter forward, with coffee heavy, followed shortly by a heavy roast and slight char to add to the bitterness. Wow. Notes of chocolate to highlight, but leans to the bittersweet side. The body is lighter than most RIS, but solid enough to handle the flavor profiles. Dry, slick finish with a lingering bitterness. The aftertaste is roasty and bitter, with a blend of coffee, chocolate, and hints of booze. Interesting, and lighter bodied than you may be used to for the style, but it works.

Sep 03, 2013
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AddyCanuck from Canada

3.49/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Can't say much other than I couldn't see through the bottle.

S - Roasted malts and slight chocolate where all I could pick up.

T - Really bitter dark chocolate taste. Has a slight burnt taste to it. Bitter follow through. The alcohol taste is a bit overpowering.

M - Dry and very easy to drink.

O - It's a good stout. I don't recommend drinking it by itself. Have a heart tomato based meal with it.

Mar 10, 2013
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korguy123 from Canada

3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Dec 5th, 2012
Consumed while homemade bread was rising Jan 6th, 2013.

Oily black, totally opaque pour with a 3 finger dense tan head. Gobs of lacing on the side of the glass.

Dark chocolate, burnt coffee and the molasses added really stand out in this. It smells much better than I remembered from the first time I had it years ago. Slight sweetness of raw sugar with a touch of licorice.

Burnt coffee, dark bitter chocolate (85%+) very little sweetness coming from the molasses. Good sipper with zero alcohol present.

Medium body, low carbonation. Really sticky on the lips.

Jan 06, 2013
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lwadd from Canada

3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up from the local lcbo over the Christmas holidays. Poured very black, with a thin head that dissipated quickly. The initial flavourful was rich with, I think, burnt coffee and toffee. The after taste was a little on the bitter side for me.

All in all, I would drink this again, but I feel I've had better. I had it on it's own though, and it might have been better paired with a nice holiday meal.

Dec 30, 2012
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thehyperduck from Canada

4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled on Nov 13 2012. This is one of the few 'major' Grand River brews that I haven't managed to get my hands on until now. This bottle was listed at 8.0%, and served only slightly chilled.

Pours an opaque black colour, with only a few brown highlights under the light. Atop the liquid is seated slightly more than one finger's width of silky, creamy, beige-coloured head - almost looks like a melted marshmallow, but with a little more tan colouration. Retention is very good; it takes well over 10 minutes to seep away, leaving behind a thin, foamy cap, collar, and a few rings of sticky lacing. The aroma is enticing, and is comprised mostly of molasses, roasted nuts/barley malt, butterscotch, and a few hints of dark fruit. A pleasant smokiness and some spice underlies this bouquet, adding an additional layer of depth.

Tasty stuff, though perhaps not as complex as the aroma suggested to me - it starts off with a solid dose of roasted, biscuity malts, molasses, cocoa, and some scant undertones of charred coffee grinds and smoke. Earthy, herbal hop notes and spiciness come through toward the finish, with the roasted character of the malts combining with these factors to produce an exceptionally bitter finish. Lingering bitterness and roasted character hangs around on the palate after each sip. On the heftier side of medium-bodied, but not quite full, with restrained carbonation that helps cut through the bitterness without becoming a distraction. The booze never really comes into play. Not as thick on the palate as it could be, but the creaminess (thanks to the long-lasted head) gives it a silky, luxurious mouthfeel that I absolutely love.

Final Grade: 4.04, an impressive A-. One of the best beers in Grand River's portfolio, their 2012 Russian Gun Imperial Stout is a satisfying, full-flavoured brew that I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more of in the future. It's not easy to find a good RIS around here, but this is a solid choice that falls right up my alley - with its relatively low abv, smooth mouthfeel and pleasant, drying finish that contrasts nicely with the big malt flavours. I would definitely take this over Wellington's RIS, and will probably pick up a few more bottles before 2013 is upon us. Well worth trying for anyone seeking out a 'bigger' stout that won't have you slurring your speech after the first bottle.

[Updated Nov. 1 2013]

Another bottle, dated Oct. 30 2013 (so extremely fresh), and listed at 8.5% this time. I'm getting a lot more dark chocolate off of the aroma than last time, but other than that I can't really think of anything to add. While this tastes fine (and it drinks more lightly than most beers of this style), it doesn't really have the intensity or complexity I seek from an IRS. Maybe I'll hold onto a bottle for a few months/a year and see if it develops any.

Dec 17, 2012
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jaz58 from Canada

3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first time having this beer. Enjoyed in a pint glass.

Thin head which dissipated quickly.

A good dark espresso colour. You couldn't see through it.

Nice toffee, coffee flavour with a small hint of hops. Silky malt.

Bitters were rough and excessive.

I've had a lot of smoother stouts.

Nov 24, 2012
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Jeffo from Netherlands

2.15/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got this one in a trade last summer, though I can't remember for the life of me who it was. Cheers to whoever you are!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Bottled 5 January 2011

Note: Put this one up against Wellington's RIS in an epic Battle of Ontario!

APPEARANCE: Clear, thin brown pour yields a large, three finger, looser looking, foamy, light tan head with good retention. Bistre brown in color with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a thick cap, then a good wisp remains until the end and leaves lots of chunky lacing down the glass. Too thin a body, and the chunky lacing isn't all that appealing.

SMELL: Yeasty notes, dark fruits and a hint of cocoa powder. Spicy more than anything. Starting to oxidize as well.

TASTE: Yeasty and spicy once more, with a hint of caramel malts. Some spicy pepper, herbal notes, and a touch of bitterness at the swallow. Milder and shorter aftertaste is slightly oxidized, but some bitter cocoa powder and spicy yeast notes do show up, while cardboard hangs around the whole time. Not very nice.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Light on the palate but still creamy enough, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate.

OVERALL: This was lousy at best. If it's not already starting to oxidize, which would be amazing after a year and a half, then it was simply a bad beer from the start. Drain didn't even like it all that much. Nothing to see here folks. Massive loser in the Battle of Ontario...

Aug 27, 2012
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SebD from Canada

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice bubbly tan head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and piney hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice roasty character to it with hints of coffee and chocolate, some dark fruit and piney hops. Moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel but it's a bit watery for a RIS.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Apr 25, 2012
Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 166 ratings