Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged | Cigar City Brewing

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel AgedMarshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gtreid on 01-17-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 104
Photo of Slatetank
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to SamuelJackson45 for sharing this at Stakem's tasting on 4/2! Poured from the growler into a snifter.

A black like used motor-oil appearance with not one iota of light can pass through. There is look that just yells viscosity and a ring of beads that are dark brown and don't stick. The smell is so full of brandy -big brandy barrel aroma Jeez!the smell is pungent and fragrant with an almost dessert-like smell, yet vinous and fruity. It lives up to theBrandy barrel name. The feel is rich, thick, roasted and subtly sweet with enough carbonation, yet it still seems 'chewy' and coats the mouth.

The flavor is slightly astringent w/ woody flavor and lots of brandy w/ subtle burnt toast and toffee flavor with tinges of light creamy caramel and subtle smokiness and spiced elements in the finish which is strong and dry. I found this to be agreat brew overall. If you want to have an Brandy barrel aged stout I would say start here! This has lots of barrel flavor and used as an ingredient it really works -as a barrel aged beer should be.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the growler Dave!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Motor oil black with almost no head. There's a little bit of extremely dark-tan film, but no lacing left behind. I love how dark this is.

The nose is filled with juicy green apples. Wow, lots of apple. Caramel, wood and a bit of alcohol heat. A touch of earthy dark chocolate and plum makes it's way through as well. The barrels are strong with this one. Good, but a little one-dimensional.

Dark chocolate laced with green apples on the tongue. Caramel, apple skin and vanilla. Booze soaked oak. I wasn't quite sure about this one at first, but it really starts to grow on you after awhile. Lots of apple brandy barrel.

Mouthfeel is smooth, chewy and viscous. Unfortunately, there is very little carbonation, even for this style, which hurts the feel a bit. Nice warming alcohol, but not overdone. A few more bubbles and this would be perfect.

Overall, this is a solid beer. Lots of apple brandy. I love the caramel and vanilla notes that start to shine through as the beer warms up. The -bals could probably be toned down a bit, but it's still enjoyable as is. I'd love to see this in bottles some day. Really glad I got a chance to try it.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours solid black, no head, no lace. Looks ominous.
Smells of so many things, sweet caramel, coffee, chocolate, hint of booze, dates, and the brandy really comes through.
Taste is dark as hell, rich and thick of coffee grounds, brandy, sweet and yet bitter chocolate. This thing lingers in the back of the throat with hints of bitter coffee grounds....not coffee.
It slides down your throat like cough syrup and coats the glass the same way. It's still on the glass between sips. No carbonation at all and it doesn't need any.
This is a fantastic stout which pulled all the goodness out of the brandy barrel. I really hope to try more of this series.

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Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a heavy dark black motor oil like with a heavy tan head.

S- Smell of Apple and oak to the nose.

T- Taste of oak flavors and brandy with hints of chocolate notes and burnt coffee. Oh so good.

M- Very smooth and creamy with Alot of killer flavors.

D- Very good stuff. Thank you Captinredbeard ..n


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Photo of gford217
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another 32oz growler from Shep, a seriously generous dude.

Pours pitch black with a nice active mocha head that leaves decent lacing and shows stubborn retention given it's coming out of a growler.

The aroma is heavy on the apple brandy. In fact, I can definitely smell the red apple rinds and booze from the brandy. There is a roasted malt and dark chocolate presence underneath with some other dark fruits, like raisins.

The taste is more of the same with the initial apple brandy character dominating for a while though the chocolate, tobacco and leather of the underlying Zhukov comes through increasingly as it warms.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and decadent, like most of the CCB imperial stouts. Really good carbonation for a growler.

Another impressive brew from CCB though I do think it's a notch below the 4 Roses version. The apple brandy is very unique and there's no doubt it's the dominant character in this one.

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Photo of stakem
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to CaptinRedBeard for securing this 32oz growler at the recent Hunahpu release and for bringing this back to share with me on 3/24/11.

Poured into a sniffer this brew appears a thick viscous coloration of black. When held to the light there is no light penetrating, not even around the edges, there is no lighter browness. A finger's worth of very dark brown head forms and recedes leaving spotty lacework on the glass. A light swirl revives the cap back to a finger which again recedes hanging close to the edges of the glass.

The smell of this brew is of tart green apples upfront. There is a prominent amount of tingly fusel booze throughout. Notes of dark chocolate provides a rich dark roasted quality to the brew mixed with a raw oak smell that developes more as the beer warms.

The taste is boozy and very roasty with a thick chocolate bitterness reminiscent of 90% cacao. More flavors of coffee come forward along with a tart green apple fruitiness. There is a solid foundation of heavily kilned malt throughout this brew that imparts a flavor of char that lingers in the mouth. There is a light touch of must across the back mixed with licorice and raw oak flavors. Very deep and enjoyable all together.

This is a full bodied brew with a light to modest amount of carbonation. A good blends of flavors with a big booze flavor and warmth that packs quite a kick. This apple brandy barrel experience was quite different from the hunahpu experience I had which makes me believe it is a different type or treatment of the barrel. I was very glad to get to try this brew, it is certainly one to share as there is a lot going on in this brute. Thanks again Corey!

*Update 4/2/11
Got to try this brew a second time care of SamuelJackson45 who also got a growler care of Corey. Quite a different experience as far as the apple inclusion inside this beer. It is significantly more bold than the sampling we had a week prior. The apple inclusion is a very bold scent of apple cores. I think Leon dry appled his growler...

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Photo of Infernal75
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 32oz growler, thanks go out to muskabeatz for sharing this with me.

The group of us were all rather worried, holding our collective breath really as this one was opened because the bottle was sticky out of the shipping package and it had clearly leaked some... Much to our delight the beer didn't seem to have been adversely effected at all!

A: Holy smokes, this beer was rich and dark, truly giving the description "motor oil" a work out, coated with just a tiny bit of the darkest foam I've ever seen, this beer is a pretty, pretty, looking stout!

S: The initial assault on the nostrils is pure apple, fresh, crisp, ripe from the farm. But that's not it, it seems to warm into a sweeter hybrid between apple pie and fudge brownies, really a uniquely delicious aroma with just a hint of woodiness trailing. The only negative for me was that I caught a whiff of alcoholic fumes that kept this away from perfection.

T: The taste matches the smell pretty well, The apple seems to be some kind of blend between washington and bit of granny smith tartness. The apple mixes with some dark chocolate evenly smoothed out with the brandy. Maybe the clearest trace of Zhukov's present in this beer, I caught a little dark fruit, almost a darker cherry flavor in the tail end. As it warms up you get a little alcohol hotness, only a tiny bit boozy as it warms. This monster leaves a barrel-aged dark chocolate sort of bitterness in your mouth that lets you know you've got a quality stout. Wow, what a unique, delicious stout!

M: Mouthfeel, I'll be brief, THICK. Could use a tiny bit more carbonation, but given the age of the growler and the leaking concerns we faced, I was really pleased with the carbonation level relative to the style.

O: Wow, the sum of this beer's parts is a fantastically mind-blowingly dark Russian Imperial Stout. The taste is well-crafted and doesn't seem forced, somehow the apple, while tart, mixes well with the chocolaty sweet barrel-aged stout characteristic you expect from something akin to Bourbon County. A wonderful treat.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

32oz growler, out of my Maudite tulip. Thanks to Dave for making this one happen. A variation of a favorite of mine.

A- Oily, slick, and black. It is a vicious looking fluid that no light can penetrate. Has actually a nice reddish dark brown head. Very light lacing...

S- A beautiful blend of sweet brandy, oak, and chocolate. The oak and brandy is pretty overpowering on the smell. I get some touches of cherry or plum perhaps.

T- Wow. I love regular Zhukov's and this is a nice improvement. The barrel aging is apparent, but not completely overpowering. The heat is present at first, but it transitions to flavors of chocolate, brandy, and some hops.

M- It's without a doubt a little hot, but the flavor is well blended. The body is actually better than regular Zhukov's, a little less thick. The aftertaste is very nice too.

O- This is another great beer out of CCB. Would love this in some bottles, so it maybe had some time to mellow out. Delicious...

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 32 oz. growler into a tulip. From the 2011 Hunahpu's release. Thanks to Dunt for bringing this over.

Appearance: This pours black with cerry mahogany edges. A small foamy tan head fades to a ring. Pretty standard for an 11.5% stout.

Smell: Sweet apple brandy jumps into the nose; roast malt, some coffee, and chocolate provide support.

Taste: The smoothness in the brandy is quite noticeable, as is the flavor. Dark, chewy, roasted malt gives a base to the malt character, with touches of roast coffee and chocolate adding more character, and the oak and vanilla contributing even further depth. Still fairly boozy, but the brandy is pleasant so I do not feel compelled to knock it down for that.

Mouthfeel: As with the other Zhukov-based beers I have had, I found this to be incredibly creamy and smooth. Cigar City knows how to put this in my wheelhouse when it comes to the mouthfeel.

Overall: This was overall just a solidly enjoyable beer. Somewhat dominated by the brandy, but that is not a bad thing. When available, this is definitely worth seeking out for me.

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Photo of jlindros
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a ton to cpinto6 for this beauty.

Super thick pitch black oily heavy motor oil with thick legs, light head covering darker head.

Nose apple brandy is dominant, dark roasts, black patent, dark chocolate, fluffy oats and nougat like, bits of dark fruit, caramel, light vanilla, light bitter earthy hop

Taste starts rich, thick, smooth oats, roasty, dark choc, milk choc, light pepper, some apple brandy, woody ethers, some fruity taste like green apple, lighter earthy hops, light bitter roasted malts, sticky and a little sweet, chewy malts, light vanilla, coffee grinds, finishes with a thick mouth coating, lots of dark malts and chocolate, woody ethers, light minerality, light booze.

Mouth is fairly thick, creamy rich smooth, mouth coating, decent carb for the style.

Good, apple brandy adds some different feel and flavors compared to the original, and the brandy has a sharp contrast, and adds some woody ethers, made it lighter on the hops and malts even, booze is actually not bad.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks urbancaver

from notes

A - good dark black body, no head really.

S - freshly pressed's beautiful. a bit of roasted malts in there too

T - very sweet apples, nicely balanced with roasty malts

M - smooth and thick, great.

O (D) - a big and tasty beer that smells great, pretty highly enjoyable

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Photo of BZero007
3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle received from J2Brew2, Thank you sir!
Shared at a DC area BA tasting, I believe a little over a week from the release.

Came in the Cigar Gity's 32 oz Growler with a label on it refering it as the Brandy Zhukoz. Cap on this thing is a bit tricky and recomend taping any of there growlers that are sent.

Pours a syrupy black color in to the glass with a bit of head forming in the glass. Head is a extreme dark brown color and crumples down with in a few minutes. The aroma is of a roasty dark chocolate aroma is very present. In the background pushing through you have apples and brandy. All the smells are easily picked up and very nice. Taste was of a extremly roasty dark chocolate with a candy apple background. The brandy taste was little non other than the apple flavor in the fore front. The body on this brew was bit too much for me personally. The body was extremly thick and was not enjoyable to drink. It seemed to have the body of something you would use as a syrup instead.

Overall I am very happy with getting to try this concotion. If you have a chance it is a very interesting brew and would recomend trying it out.

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Photo of MrFootstones
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The 32oz CCB growler opens with a small hiss, and pours much like the Four Roses version, which is to say "dark black" (if there is such a thing), looking quite like motor oil as it glugs into the glass. Darkest head and body I recall having seen.

As I opened it and as I noted the appearance, the heavy apple brandy aroma has been assaulting my nostrils. Let's go in for a closer sniff... Someone I work with makes apple jack and this reminds me of it. Not having had Laird's before I feel like I get a good idea of it here, as the apple spirits character is nigh unmistakable after trying the bourbon variant. Almost all I get is the barrel character, at least without it having warmed substantially.

The taste starts out much like the aroma. So much apple brandy character it's ridiculous. Not until the finish does the base beer become noticeable in the taste. Apple flavored candy to start. Really nothing else. The finish sees the oak barrels coming through, as well as the heavily roasted base beer. Very delicious, but overpowering flavors were relinquished by the barrel. Some chocolate and vanilla emerge mid palate as it warms.

Mouthfeel is just epic in MZ. So viscous, chewy, rich, and decadent. CCB knows how to make a stout.

This was a great beer, but it seems the barrels really took over. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but I guess it's new. I don't blink an eye when I drink a beer overpowered by a bourbon barrel. This was a very interesting and different beer and it was a pleasure to try it.

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Photo of KevSal
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

last minute extra from Jefe73, can thank you enough Jeff for pullin this one off. thanks buddy!

Out of a growler into a Cigar City Growler poured with my gf, gotto get into it asap!

Appearance- looks amazing, wasnt expecting too much carbonation but got a nice half inch mocha head. the appearance is delicious (plus these CC growlers are mega cool)

Smell- Wow this gets top marks. as soon as I opened it the room was filled with stong apples and brandy scents. sticking my nose in the glass gives me an apple covered with chocolate. Zhukov is there too with some bourbon, but not as much as i was expecting at first. half way through the glass the booze and brandy becomes more pronounced. a swirl of the glass unleashes that awesome chocolate apple again

Taste- hmm this stuff taste great. you can still taste the base beer, its a unique taste. The flavor has been seriously boosted, great bandy sweetness and barrel taste.

Mouthfeel- coasts the entire mouth, the flavor gets all over and its great. much better mouthfeel than was expecting actually. very little alcohol burn, very smooth.

Overall- overall a very good experience. even better is knowing there's 15-20 ounces left! i feel very lucky to get to try this guy.
great beer for after dinner. wish they bottled this and i wish i had some aging in the cellar.

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Photo of readbaron
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a hard time describing this beer. I'm happy I had a 32 oz growler to split with a friend, as the qualities of the beer changed throughout the tasting.

Pours dark and viscous. At first I was worried that it would be flat because I didn't hear a hiss when I opened it (CC seems to consistently overfill their bottles!), but a decent mocha head did eventually show up.

When cold, you get a lot of apple, some brandy, and some sweet roasty flavors underneath. As it warms the brandy becomes nostril singing and overpowering.

Flavors are all over the place. Very complex. Initially sweet with a hint of apple tartness, then a full caramel and roasted malt flavor. As it warmed there was a bit of unpleasant soy sauce flavor, then after another pour, it became really pleasant again - some brandy sweetness and heat with a roasted malts, a bit of coffee and some licorice. Really interesting and delicious beer. I'm surprised at the variation that I experienced while slowly sipping through it. A bit too sticky and salty. I definitely needed water to help this one.

Mouthfeel was good. Heavy, viscous, sticky. I bet it was better on tap - could have been a little less thick and creamier.

Thanks to bhalter8 for sending this my way. Happy I got to try this one.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 32 oz. growler poured into my new Cigar City tulip. Split with a friend. The growler opens with a nice hiss and a wisp of smoke.

Appearance: Absolute midnight black in color. Ranks up there with any stout in how completely black it is. First pour yielded a nice one finger, dark brown (almost black) head.

Aroma: Ripe and tart apple notes are very strong here. Definitely a bit of edge from the brandy as well. The brandy notes are really strong here. There is a touch of the Marshall Zhukov caramel, dark chocolate, and leather notes underneath, but the brandy is definitely the star here.

Taste: Sweet apple and brandy notes are the first bursts of flavor to my hit my tongue. The stout characteristics are much stronger here than in the aroma. Bitter chocoalte, caramel, and espresso notes come through in the middle. An earthy, leathery flavor rounds this out nicely. The booze is very present here though and I think it definitely detracts a little as this could be smoother. This is a sipper for sure.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and really creamy. Carbonation certainly isn't too high, but I don't find it distractingly low or even as low as it was in the original Marshall Zhukov's.

Overall, a really enjoyable and interesting stout. The apple brandy characteristics really shine through, especially in the aroma. The flavors really do compliment each other well. Definitely something I would try again.

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Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nick3 shared this fine tick. Thanks!

Appearance: The pour is pitch black, and in the glass it's incredibly viscous and completely opaque. The head is dark brown and quickly recedes to a collar. Slick oily residue clings to the glass when the beer is swirled.

Smell: the nose has an absolutely massive apple brandy character, to the point where it's hard to pick up the base beer. Sweet red apple and caramelized sugar completely overwhelm the dark malt base of Zhukov, but it's really enjoyable in a one-dimensional way.

Taste/mouthfeel: Sweet apple brandy is again dominant, but Zhukov's comes through a bit more than it does on the nose. Ripe red apple, chocolate, black licorice, caramel and molasses hit the tongue in waves. The body is incredibly thick, carbonation low. Mildly boozy and tannic in the finish, and surprisingly dry given the initial sweetness. The barrel character is so strong that there isn't much left beyond it, but it's enjoyable for exactly that reason. Unique stuff.

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Photo of beachbum1975
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to urbancaver for sharing this beer! This is one of the 4 x Zhukov's poured last night. 32 oz growler freshly flown in from the source in Florida!

Pours nearly black with a nice ring of halo - dark brown to reddish hue.

Smells of great, fresh apples first and foremost. Very nice, like fresh apples. I can't get over how nice the nose is on this one.

The apple carries over into the flavor. Very interesting, indeed. It's like an apple Imperial stout! Mouth feel is VERY heavy and coating.

VERY unique!

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours black with a foamy coffee colored head that sits pretty on top of the brew.

S. Smells of beautiful apple brandy with chocolate.

T. Chocolate with lots of apple brandy.

M. Tons of body with a thick mouth coating feel.

D. This one grew on me. I liked it quite a lot by the end of the glass.

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Photo of mistakebythelake
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz growler shared by Urbancaver with some other Cincinnati BA's.

Poured a black brown with very litlle head and tiny bubbles on the outside of the glass. Wow this smelled of red apples and almost replicated Lairds Apple Brandy smell. Tastes of smokiness and dry brandy with some other fruits as well. Very very thick mouthfeel and dry on the back palate. Different then all the other treatments that were opened and as this warmed up I started to like it a bit more.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and thick with a bit of dark brown head. More notes from the comparison:

The Brandy was very hit or miss among our group. Everyone agreed that the nose was phenomenal. Put next to the Laird's Apple Brandy there is a ton of apple and oak on the nose. However, the taste is interesting... a bit unbalanced in most of our opinion an a little unusual but super tasty none the less.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark like motor oil with no head whatsoever
S-incredible apple smell. Literally smells like fresh apples
T-definetly brandy but very subtleapples
M-finish smooth with a little brandy aftertaste
O-solid brew. Would I seek it out again? No but great to have right now

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Photo of mondegreen
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased (by me) at Hunahpu's release 2011 in Tampa. Brought back to Athens to share with 3 friends.

Pours dark and thick. A few bubbles rise, but nothing I would call a head. Not a glimpse of light comes through this one.

Nose is all apples. Amazing that such a huge and heavy beer can replicate the smell of fresh apples.

Taste has a big brandy component, but is also very sweet and a touch hot. Still, a phenomenal brew.

Just like every other incarnation of Marshall Z, this beer is thick and syrupy.

Great, great beer. I'm glad to have enjoyed it, both at the brewery and at home from te growled.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Hunahpu release... A midnight black body, no differences noted than the other variants. A dark tan head, not much retention, a little streaky lace... The nose on this is pretty outstanding. The Laird Apply Brandy shows off strongly, very sweet, dark fruits, a little wood. A touch hot but I like it... The taste is again dominated by the apple brandy, so much so that a lot of the base beer is gone. However, in the middle of the taste is an almost perfect apple brandy note which you get the liquor as a beer, so complex right there. However, the rest of the sip is a lot of alcohol.

I like this a lot, slightly less than the 4 Roses, still very good.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at 2nd Annual Hunahpu's Release.

A - Pours back, small tan head which dissipates to some film on top and some spotty lacing along the sides. Not much trace left of the head and it's basically a black hole in a glass.

S - Huge Laird's Apple Brandy right up front. Way more then the Laird's Hunahpu's that I've previously ticked. The Brandy really overpowers the base beer. Some chocolate and oak notes, but man, the alcohol is very evident here.

T - Once again, a huge Laird's Apple Brady bomb with some Zhukov follow behind. I think this one was a little too hot up front for me to really enjoy as much as the 4 Roses version.

M - Full, rich and thick, light carbonation (if any), creamy/oak finish.

D - This one was a little to hot for me, although others around me appreciated the Apple Brandy notes more then I did. I liked it, jus did love it. Would try again...I mean, will. Growler on the way!

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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
4.31 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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