Russian Gun Imperial Stout | Grand River Brewing

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Russian Gun Imperial StoutRussian Gun Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing
Ontario, Canada

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Viggo on 04-03-2009

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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 157
Photo of ckeegan04
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Into my Deschutes Brewery Reserve Series tulip.

A - Very dark black, verging on picth black. One finger of tight brown foam head. Very active carbonation bubbles quickly rising to the top. Sheets of lace left behind.

S - Lightly roasted malts with a sweet milk chocolate aroma underneath. Just a hint of dark fruits.

T - Roasted malts and hints of fruit. Semi-sweet chocolate mid drink. The roasted malts are certainly the dominant taste throughout the entire drink.

M/D - Medium bodied with a relatively creamy feel. Carbonation is at a decent level and brings the beer to life just a bit on the tongue. Very sweet in the finish.

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Photo of Long813
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on: Jun 02 2010
From: liamt07

A: Dark brown almost black body and two fingers of light mocha head. Retention is good and leaves decent lacing.

S: Mild notes of chocolate, coffee and caramel notes.

T: Much like the aroma, the taste is full of mild chocolate, caramel and coffee. Pleasing, but could be stronger.

M: Medium bodied and low carbonation. The texture is very smooth and creamy leaving a sweet malt finish. Very pleasing with slight alcohol notes.

D: Thanks again liam, this is not a bad stout. Although it's not a full or strong in some aspects, all around it's a great beer that I could drink all the time.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle with a May 25, 2010 bottling date - Fresh Fresh!

Pours a dark brown with hints of garnet glinting in the light, a finger or two of creamy mocha head builds and manages to leave some rings down the glass.

Nose is chocolaty, hints of coffee, sweet caramel, a hint of butterscotch diacytyl.

Quite chocolaty, lacks the hefty roast I expect with a good RIS, coffee, toast, raisins and dark fruits play a dominant role, caramel, sweet with a light grainy astringency in the finish - with the lack of roast I can see the Baltic Porter comparisons. Light body though it doesn't feel as thin as some of the reviews have spoken of.

Not terrific though not terrible. Hides the ABV relatively well though I am still waiting for an Ontario brewer to make a truly badass RIS - this is not it.

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Photo of pootz
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I waited to do this review until I sampled this both on tap and bottled. There is a difference and I have to say when this is fresh I prefer the bottled version.

Appearance: Served at 45deg.F this pours a light-defying black ale in the thistle with a creamy 2 finger mocha colored cap. This cap reduces to about 1 finger and lasts the drink. Moderate carbonation.

Aroma: Cocoa, roasty cereal husks, burnt toffee, figs and leafy hops...a light earthiness... very nice.

Flavor profile: Front end has a rich flood of malty toffee tastes mingling with dried fruits and cocoa...mid palate some complexity as the balance starts; cherry pipe tobacco, nuts, spice and dried fruit riding just above the lush bittering hops....finishes cocoa-bitter and roasty...great stuff!

character and impression: Rich viscous mouth feel, massive malt spine, toasty-toffee-bitter profile. One of the best domestic RISs I've tasted. Rich,flavourful, well balanced, satisfying. ...too bad a few kegs could not be cold stored and sampled mid winter 2010 as I plan to do with some of the bottles I stored.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Courtesy of northyorksammy (thanks!). Bottled March 9th, 2010 - this batch weighs in at 8.4% ABV. Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Very dark taupe/brown body with a smattering of ballooning bubbles forming a wheat colored skin and a creamy soft-serve collar. Thick sandy lacing leaves uniform arcs surrounded by a thin layer of legs.

Roast malt, black coffee, chocolate, and light fruity esters (turkish apricots?) aromas all complement one another well.

Everything in the nose is on the palate with a deep maltiness as well, suggesting a baltic porter at times - though the coffee and chocolate notes make sure you know this is a RIS. Mild hops add further depth with a bit of citrus and perhaps loam, and along with the astringency of the roast malt help balance out the sugars in the finish. A grainy element comes through which makes this a bit more "rustic" then many examples of the style, but it isn't off-putting.

Medium to medium-heavy bodied, but not really as full or rich as many stouts. While the flavor profile is good, it lacks the alcohol, body, or immensity of the better "Imperial" stouts.

If this beer has sacrificed those things mentioned above, it is in the service of drinkability, so some may find this a welcome trade-off.

Happy to get a chance to try this.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I Like the English style 500ml bottle. The pour reveals a dark, near black cherry red liquid with a smallish tan head. A few patches of lace stick to the glass here and there. The aroma is roasty with a good amount of citrusy hops. The taste is hop forward and rather light on the roasty, coffee dark malts you expect from an RIS. A vinous character complements the grapefruity, piney hops. A bit of astringent burnt barley may turn some people of, but I think its balanced. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light bodied. A rather sparse carbonation level. Alcohol is immodest, but not deleterious. The finish is bitter, roasty and spicey from the booze.

A decent RIS which is a little light in some areas, like malt depth and thick, full body, but it shines in other areas. The hop profile is pretty kick ass. I'd say try this beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.32/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in to Duvel tulip

A = Poured a dark brown; not as thick and black as many RIS but still a nice deep brown colour with half a finger of light brown head. Some visible carbonation.

S - The nose is dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and a hint of coffee and dark fruit. Some sweetness here too: perhaps some caramel or molasses (only the general sweetness sticks out). Slight alcohol smell is prevalent as well.

T - The taste is odd for a RIS - very prevalent dark fruit up front with a general roasted malt profile - but no discernible chocolate of coffee taste as was present in the nose. With a few more sips, a slight coffee flavour shows up and the dark fruit fades a little bit. There is also some bitterness in the background - definitely some hops in here. The hops become much more noticeable the more I drink and provide a nice backbone to the roasted malts. No real alcohol taste at all here despite the 8.4% ABV (my bottle says 8.4% - not sure why the details above say 9.1%).

M - Not typical for a RIS. Light to medium body, no silky texture and somewhat overly carbonated. If I was tasting this blind, I would likely say that it was a robust porter as opposed to a RIS.

D - A nice beer and very drinkable. Not sure I am all that impressed with this as an RIS, but ignoring the label, this is a nice beer.

Now I have to decide if it is worth picking up another bottle or two to age...

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Photo of canucklehead
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Meisterburger for this one.

Poured the usual blackness with a kinds subdued nose for the style. The beer has lots of complexity in the midbody but the finish is a little abrupt for a RIS. The chocolate roasty notes were quite prominent and the added dryness gave this beer its character. Good beer though not world class

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Photo of liamt07
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Duvel tulip. Deep brown/black coming out of the bottle, with some dark ruby red colouration when held to light. Tan/beige head which faded to leave a thin layer and had very slight lacing. Smells of dark fruits, some chocolate and a bit of molasses; quite sweet aroma. Get a touch of alcohol in the smell too. Tastes of the dark fruits too, a bit of coffee, some dark chocolate but little heat. Again, sweet and get some of the roasted malts coming in. Sweet in the mouthfeel, carbonation seems fine and seems to leave a lingering aftertaste quite some time after I've had my sip. Good drinkability, yet I find the 500mL bottle size to kinda put me in no man's land as to whether I share it or keep it to myself for this ABV.

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Photo of notdan
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark dark brown, almost black brew with slight hints of auburn, topped with a light beige head. The head settles down fairly quickly but leaves a nice ring around the glass.

Smells somewhere between an imperial stout and a strong English ale, in that it lacks the roasty component, though there's some dark chocolate with lots of ripe dark fruits. Taste mostly follows suit, but adds in a slight smoke flavour, and has a nice bitterness towards the end, though it's not quite as intense as I would hope. Alcohol is not at all noticeable.

Light to medium carbonation, which I think works perfectly for this one. Drinks very well.

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Photo of ludachris
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep nut brown, bordering black, giving off quick glimpses of ruby red highlights. About a finger of quickly dissipating rich tan head topped this beer, leaving minimal lace and retaining poorly. Coming out of the bottle, this one looked like an English brown ale moreso than a stout.

Roasted dark chocolate, a bit of molasses, and a big dose of dark fruits. Notes of ethanol are also present, but you have to dig a bit for them. Once you find it though, it seems quite pronounced. Served at the proper temperature, this one still struggles to give off a real aromatic and pronounced nose like other RIS's I've had.

Everything seems to pick up a bit more in the flavour. Thick roasted malts, dry dark chocolate that morphs into a more sweet milk chocolate character as it progresses, with a bit of molasses in the back. The dark fruits come in towards the end but battle it out with a pronounced ethanol finish, with the ethanol being the clear winner. It almost seems like it completely overpowers the dark fruits. Amp up the deep fruity finish and lessen the ethanol presence and this would make for a great local stout.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a decent carbonted feel, but the whole thing seems a bit thin throughout. Good balance, but the alcohol could definitely use some toning down.

Overall, this seems like a decent stout, and one for me that is a notch higher than John By's. The biggest surprise was the full roasted chocolatey character in the taste, but the biggest letdown was well pronounced ethanol notes throughout. Maybe this one does well with age? If I had to pick between this and their old style lager, I'd probably choose the latter. I'd say this one is still worth a try, but don't expect this RIS to exceed any expectations.

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Photo of MrHall
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last night I think I had a bad experience with one of the bottles. I was shocked as it seemed thin and rather brown or red in colour, so I tried another bottle again with a different result. I deleted my review from last night. Here's tonights bottle:

Poured into Duvel tulip Bottle date March 14/10

Appearance: Rich dark brown to molassis black. Opaque. No light coming through. Tan coloured head that disappeared quickly. Left some lacing.

Smell: Honey, Dark fruit, chocolate, maple syrup(?), head disappeared a little too quickly to get a really good whiff.

Taste: Heavy on the molasses, dark chocolate up front and the the middle. Followed by a roaty hoppy finish. The chocolate notes seem to come back after the bitterness subsides. The taste hangs out for quite a long time in this bottle.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full. Much better than my last bottle which was strangely thin. The weird this is less carbonation than last night's bottle, hence a fast ending head?(?)

Drinkability: Last night I thought I felt like I could pound it back and tonight it feels much more heavy and much more satisfying. This is the RIS that I fell in love with!

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Photo of GodOfBeer
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a thin foamy white head. Not as dark as I was expecting for an RIS.

Even though it doesn't smell like your typical stout, it still smells delicious! Smells more belgian like, very fruity, raisins, strawberries, and pretty hoppy.

Does not taste like any RIS I'm used to, but nonetheless still a great beer. Nice and malty, fruity and surprisingly hoppy. Finishes bitter, no coffee or chocolate flavours.

Overall a very good beer, but for a Russian Imperial this falls short.

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Photo of kwjd
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with hints of red. Light tan head with a little bit of lacing. There isn't much going on in the smell. Very mild amount of roasted malt and I think I can little bit of caramel sweetness. The taste also isn't what I expect for an RIS. I get some bitterness without the taste of hops. I would have guessed this was a brown ale rather than a stout. Very thin body. There is nothing wrong with drinking this as it tastes fine, just a little weak in the flavour and body.

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Photo of cratez
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

EDIT - 2011 Review: On tap at Gambrinus Bistro & Cafe in London, ON. Pours motor oil black with a thick ring of foamy tan head. Smell and taste are light coffee, unsweetened chocolate, roasted malt, vinous pit fruit, oatmeal, and a grassy-floral hop bitterness to end. The ABV packs some heat, so you need to pace carefully. Full-bodied and silky mouthfeel, spicy carbonated bite precedes a drying and astringently bitter finish. Solid complexity, I'll be grabbing this often over the winter.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pitch black with no head.

S - Sweet, fruity and a bit of a grape-y aroma.

T - Again grapes, dark fruit and quite sweet.

M - Light body and slightly astringent.

D - Interesting, but not really what I like in a RIS. Lots of fruit and not so much roast.

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Photo of eat
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at Volo's Ontario Cask Imperial Stout event. Just-off black...very dark brown in colour. Thinnest ring of head around the glass. Bits of visible sediment at the bottom.

Buttery sour dairy in the smell...diacetyl? Some caramel, roasted malt, a little coffee. Can't say I'm into the sour cream aspect.

Luckily the stout is big enough to cover up whatever spoiled milk was in the nose. Strangely, for a stout, there's quite a bit of grapefruit, especially on the finish, which I don't find to be a completely pleasant addition. Astringent and almost a little sour. Dark roasted malt. Not much character beyond the strange grapefruit finish. The alcohol only shows itself a little bit on the finish.

Feel is decent. Viscous medium body and very lightly carbonated.

I don't know about this one. Seems like this wasn't pulled off too well. I'm interested to check this out in the bottle (a new release at the LCBO) to see how it measures up. Can't say I'm too into this cask version. An odd stout.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic glass. A rich, near-black brew, with an almost imperceptible brown tinge. A solid 1/2 inch tan head. Good retention and creamy sheets of lacing.

Nose of coffee, caramel, burnt toast (almost like slightly charred marshmallows). A bit of alcohol can be picked out here.

Starts off with bitter coffee, some caramel, cream/butter, dark malts, and finishes with warming alcohol and bitterness. Fairly robust, though there are certainly more potent RIS's out there.

Keeping with their tradition, this GRB brew is fairly thin, which would make it more drinkable, but it's too thin for the style. Silky, but pushing syrupy.

Not a bad stab at the RIS style. I quite enjoyed it, actually. It paired well with strawberries and chocolate for dessert. The mouthfeel was a bit off, however. Just needs a bit of tweeking.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.42/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, opaque sable with a tan head of average thickness and persistence. Rich aroma is fruity, malty and smoky with a firm coffee undertone. Strong, smoky flavor has undertones of fruit and caramel without being too sweet. Texture is smooth, tingly and fizzy. Worth finding.

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Photo of BigBry
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml brown bottle, label as above. Compliments of bobsy, has been stored waiting til now to be enjoyed.
Poured very dark, only the smallest amount of light could penetrate the edges. Tan head that faded to a floating cap, thin streaky lacing.
The aroma has some coffee, slightly bitter roast, and a touch of molasses sweetness. The taste has a nice mix of sweet, dark molasses and dark fruits. More bitterness in the end, from the roasted, if not charred grains. Sharp, almost astringent, like the bitter coffee in the smell. It is medium-bodied, not thin but not rich and full either. Hardly any alcohol burn. Some RISs are very rich and bold, but this one is more subdued, making it easy to drink. An interesting take on the style.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer appears a solid black, with faint red tints, no head, and a small ring of beige lace around the edges of the glass. It smells of light chocolate malt, some cafe au lait, plum, and a bit of booziness as it warms. The taste is caramel malt, treacle, milk chocolate, and soft, muted alcohol. The carbonation is very low, the body full, smooth, thick, and creamy, and it finishes sweet, the silky caramel malt mixing with the mild booze warmth.

A very good, put-some-hair-on-yer-chest imperial stout - drinkable, although with a booze edge, but not overly so. However, said booze eventual effect will indeed self-limit.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle via MasterSki. Pours out with a cola hue and clarity with lively carbonation. Minimal mocha head with a sparse, but fine bubble lacing. Nose- stewed fruit, vanilla, faint powdered chocolate. Taste- licorice, sweet dark fruits, oak, and roast. Initial sweetness then becomes a dry chalky, grass like bitterness on the finish. Medium bodied with an above average level of carbonation for the style. Drinkability is pretty decent for strength and style. This beer has potential with some fine tuning.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt notes with hints of dry raisins. Taste is a balanced mix between some roasted malt with vinous notes and a dry raisin finish. Body is too thin for style with good carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Not bad and interesting side of vinous/dry raisin notes but body is too thin for style.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to grub for sending another local my way. Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a pint glass. Bottled April 13, 2009.

A- Pours a dark, brownish color with hints of garnet throughout. Possibly one of the lightest colored RIS's I have ever seen. Produced two fingers width of creamy, tan head. Reduced to a thin, filmed layer.

S- Getting some nice chocolate malts in there, along with some sort of sweetness...almost like molasses. There was something off putting in the aroma. The roasted characteristics almost gave it a chalk-like scent. I just couldn't get passed it.

T- Would have been higher, except for the back end of this beer. The first half was pretty standard. As it sat in the palate, definite notes of chocolate and roasted malts came forward. There is also a pleasant sweetness in the background. From here, it definitely took a bad turn. As you swallow, a chalk-like bitterness takes over, erasing all taste prior to it. Even worse, it just seems to linger on the palate. If I could cut the flavor profile in half and keep the first part, this beer wouldn't taste half bad.

M- Major disappointment here. Way too thin to be a RIS. Almost has the consistency of water. The only thing saving it from having a lower score is that while the beer is thin, it did manage to maintain some sort of silkiness.

D- Aside from issues with the second portion of each sip, this beer was pretty drinkable.

Overall, I love sampling locals and am really glad I can cross another Canadian local off my list. That being said, I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to try this again if I didn't have to.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into pint glass oct14 2009

A not quite black with a big mocha head that fell to an island leaving patches of lace

S lots of espresso and some very dark chocolate

T again the dark roast coffee and chocolate are nice but I also taste a small amount of black licorice I could not smell. although the booze is well concealed you can still taste it and feel it

M not as thick as I expected but nice and creamy nonetheless

D lots of small things make this a well rounded beer. I would drink this again and for 9%alc its very easy to drink

one of the better imperial stouts I've had from Canada, I wish more brewers would make this style. thanks to wittaker for this fine beer

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Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing
3.69 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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