Pugachev Royale
Hangar 24 Brewing

Pugachev RoyalePugachev Royale
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #8
Ranked #126
4.59 | pDev: 6.1%
Hangar 24 Brewing
California, United States
Pugachev RoyalePugachev Royale
Notes: Pugachev Royale is a more developed version of Pugachev’s Cobra. We added cacao nibs and vanilla beans to a select few barrels of Cobra during its eight months in Bourbon Barrels, then transferred it to brandy barrels for an additional 10 months of aging. Royale displays sweet, ripe fruit notes doused with incredible chocolate aromatics. This is a truly decadent beer to be saved for a special occasion, and will evolve in the cellar for years to come
Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 327 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sandis
4.09/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2017 version poured into a Forager snifter. The alcohol percentage is pretty well disguised on this. Nice chocolate aroma and some fruit from the Brandy barrel in the flavor. Very nice.

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Photo of maximum12
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a local for swapping fluids with me & knocking a long, long time want off my list. 12 oz. black-waxed bottle as I celebrate a Twins win & watch the Punisher. It’s a good night. Bottle 1357/1644.

Black. Zero head, or close enough. The nose is intense barrel, with brandy on top, chocolate, touch of bourbon & fruit & a deep sweetness. Smells like a sundae. I like sundaes.

Pugachev Royale is Cobra on performance enhancing drugs. Serious ones. Shit that’d get you a full season suspension in the majors. Shorthand: Cobra with brandy added. Longhand: brandy is ascendant & the bourbon has been shoved far into the background, hitting the back of the throat but little else. A boozy bite complimented liberally by the maple syrup, fudge, spring earth, & rich, rich sweetness. Belly warming. Thick. I could drink more of this. I’d like to.

The additional barrel really doesn’t kick this up a notch – that’s pretty tough considering how fantastic Cobra is – just adds one more layer of complexity. Top-shelf beer. As if that was in question.

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Photo of Reinmogard
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I didn't think you could improve upon the original Pug, but wow this sure does. The brandy barrel is very prominent, and somehow I felt enhanced the maple.

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Photo of Zach_Attack
4.23/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

07/2016 - This is super hot and doesn't hide it, but the nose is chock full of barrel, chocolate, roast, and some anise; the palate kicks ass and is similar to the nose; but the heat lingers and keeps this from being next level for me.

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Photo of mig100
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4.25

November 2017 vintage. 18.4% abv. Too hot.

Aroma has inviting chocolate, vanilla, toasted coconut and barrel notes but the heat overtakes them. Taste follows suit, but again the level of heat cuts off the flavors quickly. Mouthfeel is thin, hot and numbing on the tongue - really the weakest aspect of the beer, when it sits on your palate for too long (more than 3-4 seconds) your tongue literally burns and goes numb.

My guess is the initial high ratings came from when this beer was a more realistic (under 15%) 14.8% abv.

Overall, a great barrel aged strong ale but it does not live up to the ratings and average review score.

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Photo of raspy22
4.84/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance was weird. Poured like a thin, fizzy, brownish/black soda. Bubbles dissipated after a minute or so. Aroma was a surprising semi-sweet chocolate-covered cherries drenched in maple syrup. Waaay better than the appearance was suggesting. Taste was similar to the aroma, just a little less. Nicely-complex. 18% alcohol, but tasted more like a 10%er. Mouthfeel was thinner than I wanted, but surprisingly not off-putting (with that fizzy pour.) Overall, I was very impressed that the important aspects, aroma and flavor, were so very good in spite of the look/feel. Would drink this again.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.6/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown color with a ring of brownish foam. Aroma is boozy with whiskey, rum and brandy notes. Sweet malt, some dark fruits, earthy and woody notes, bitter roasted notes on the finish. Medium to light body with soft carbonation. Complex flavors but a bit light bodied.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

The slappy, watery black pour forms a fizzy, bubbly mocha head that quickly settles to a thin collar. A persistent subsurface fizz visibly push up from the center like a black cauldron, pushing a faint circle of tan bubbles to the edges. A swirl leaves distinct, clear legs on the glass.

The aroma is very complex and delectable, with vanilla and dark chocolate brownie batter taking center stage. At times, Tootsie Roll even comes out, but mature threads of brandy and port sting with potency.

Flavors of semi-sweet dark chocolate syrup and vanilla frosting are pulverized by a substantial and fusile sweet bourbon and brandy character. This is possibly the most expressive barrel character I have experienced in a beer ever, but it's also coming with that heat, which is only amplified by the absurd ABV (this 2017 bottle states 18.4%, not the 14% listed here).

The smooth, thin body has a bubbly fizz and finishes semi-dry with a hot, numbing swallow.

I was so excited to try this long time Want that I never really glanced at the ABV until I started drinking it. Had I done so earlier, my expectations might have been more realistic. While it's a fine, complex brew, it's also way too close to spirit territory for me to thoroughly enjoy.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage.

A: Pours black with a thin ring of sand colored head. Below average retention, no lacing.

S: Spiritous brandy, rich milk chocolate bar, vanilla bean, light toasted oak, a bit of bourbon and cola. Rich, complex, and well balanced.

T: Straight up melted milk chocolate—almost over the top how chocolatey this is—alongside boozy brandy, oak, vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of roast. Finishes off dry.

M: Full bodied with hot alcohol burn, and light carbonation.

O: Big, rich, and boozy. Ridiculously delicious chocolate character. Brandy comes through quite well, bourbon is pretty light.

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Photo of edthehead
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, zero head, brandy dominates the nose, brandy forward and bourbon on the finish for taste. Nice syrupy mouthfeel. A bit boozy. Very worth trying.

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Photo of RAlmeida77
4.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle to tulip. Quite opaque. Minimal head. Smells of bourbon and brandy. Taste is chocolate, bourbon and subtle apple brandy. Taste is similar. Very rich. Outstanding brew.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Thanks Ryan for sharing this.

Thick, viscous body, inky black color, dark brown head. Heavy bourbon-chocolate on the nose. On the tongue is dark chocolate, fudgy, roasty malt with a touch of vanilla in the background. Barrel adds a good whiskey flavor. Really nice thick body, rich and fudgy.

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Photo of M-Fox24
4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage: 2015
Consumed: 2017

A: Quaint, black pour with a minor off-white head; evanescent retention and lacing

S: Brandy forefront with oak, a scotch essence, and loads of complexity: dark fruit/figs, leather, vanilla, caramel, chocolate

T: Apple Brandy is the lead barrel to cruise the palate with aspects of Bourbon. Such an in-depth/involved RIS; limitless layers of complexity. Not as syrupy, bold, or gimmicky as some of others out there, but rather a sophisticated balance of bitter, malt, oak, and oily sweetness. Notes yield fruit, licorice, smoked wood, leather, cacao, caramel, vanilla

M: Medium body and oily, thinner carbonation; soft and silky dryness with sensible heat

O: Well-engineered RIS; a sipper to enjoy and to get lost in

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Photo of shareallthebeer
4.56/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in tasting snifter, early-March 2017, at a bottle share.

I was really looking forward to finally trying this one.

Solid BBA RIS. There are definitely some that are better, but I would consider this world class.

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Photo of Reema
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: 2016 vintage at Pugafest.

Deep ebony black with a lasting head of less than an inch (damn you, tiny Pugafest glasses). Smell is of intense bourbon, vanilla, milk chocolate, along with a slight dark fruit aroma. Toasted coconut floats around here and there. The taste reflects the smell perfectly. Intense bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, and slight toasted coconut flavors meander throughout the taste. Finishes hot (it is the 2016 vintage afterall) with a lingering milk chocolate sweetness. It tastes like we added lactose but we didn't. Feel is thick, viscous, coats the mouth. Overall, this is a pretty good beer. I'm glad I got the chance to try it and hoard a few bottles of it.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.71/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Glad I took the time to track this one down! Nice thick oily stout with lots of chocolate and bourbon notes yet extremely smooth and velvety. Nice mocha colored head and really coats the sides of the glass. Enjoyed ever so slowly over a glorious 2 hour movie with family!

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Photo of rabbott2
4.87/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage drank in a snifter on 12/29/2016

Look - looks thin other than the deep dark brownish body

Smell-oak, dark fruit, brandy, chocolate, sweet sweetness

Taste-soooo complex. the RIS base is prevalent but the brandy and oak are so nicely added here it's beautiful. A hint of the bourbon opens up as well and cocoa nibs too. AMAZING

Feel-no booze, very drinkable, but a little thin as well

Overall-amazing. this one really blew me away and I will seek it out. I've heard it's hot and boozy fresh but this as a year old was absolutely exceptional

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Photo of wulfie85
4.54/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Excellent mouthfeel and flavors so complex it took the entire beer to figure out. The sweet flavors from the brandy merged well with the chocolate and vanilla

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.17/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage, enjoyed with several months on it in 2016.

Wow this is one burning hot, boozy, bourbon bomb. Almost painful. I'm a lightweight when it comes to liquor so my score may reflect that.

Didn't get much of the advertised vanilla on the nose, so ding'd it a bit on aroma, but otherwise smells nice (again, smells rather like a snifter of brandy rather than a stout). Pitch black. Body was lovely -- fairly svelte for an imperial stout, but a little bit syrupy in a pleasant way. Taste was chocolatey... but most taste was covered up by the booze.

Maybe this is one to age for a few years to let it cool off a bit. Rather like Rare 2015 in that respect. Would definitely like to revisit an aged bottle, or perhaps a vintage other than 2015.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was surprised at how rich the taste of chocolate on this one was. Did a side-by-side with the Cobra, which was also excellent, but this naturally had a much greater depth of flavor. Watch out for that abv though!!

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Photo of mattsmith413
4.91/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hangar 24 does great things with their BA selections...

Fantastic nose of bittersweet chocolate, taste is similar with barrel notes and coffee flavors... rich and complex, a real treat

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Bottle
L: Dark onyx and ebony hues with a thin cinnamon-hued head and minimal retention (although ample legs are present)
S: Bursting with milk chocolate, dark grade B maple syrup, bourbon barrels and a faint Japanese whiskey scent
T: Decadent dessert flavors abound - sweetness upfront swirls around with maple syrup, vanilla beans, cocoa beans, and a swift brandy finish
F: Much thicker than I had anticipated - on par with BCBS
O: Just an absolute treat from start to finish. A dessert-like sweetness is complemented by a bitter dark chocolate and dry bourbon profile that enhances the ultimate complexity of this work of art. Incredibly enjoyable liquid feast - my only complaint is that the size of the bottle isn't 2x as big!

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Photo of mothman
4.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No head. Black in color.

Massive amounts of chocolate and bourbon. Oaky. The adjuncts are hard to find. This one is very rich. The brandy brings some richness. As it warms the cocoa shows. Maple and nilla hard to find. Raisin and molasses flavors in the finish.

Full bodied. Very complex and unique brew.

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Photo of fondyball20
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage opened in 6/16. Still some heat to it but it didn't overpower the beer. The maple, brandy, and bourbon are nicely balanced. It's feel is thicker then most but I didn't get the velvety feel I like in great stouts.

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Photo of KaeF
4.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smells like bourbon and wood, taste of chocolate, chili, lots of booze. The alcohol in this one is really present, maybe let it age for another couple of months so it can soften up a little.

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Pugachev Royale from Hangar 24 Brewing
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 327 ratings