Barbapapa | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Barbapapa is our Imperial Russian Stout. A big beer, brewed using one of our crazy double mash methods, whereby we brew once, run off the wort, and mash into-that-wort to brew a second time. The result is a beer of great depth and maltiness. Job’s a good’un.

Added by DomingoOrtiz on 12-09-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 336
Photo of stevoj
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle share. Nice aroma, taste alright. Smooth, silky, caramel, toffee, butterscotch. Not as boozy as you would think with the ABV. Rich and velvety.

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Photo of superspak
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2015 vintage bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Awesome appearance. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toasted dark bread, nuttiness, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, herbal, light pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toasted dark bread, nuttiness, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, herbal, light pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy hop and roast/char bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toasted dark bread, nuttiness, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with an awesome roasted bitter/sweet balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely amazing Russian imperial stout. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. An insanely delicious offering.

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Photo of Gatch
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

There's no date on this, but the label has "bottled in:" years 2013 and 2014 only (and no notches), so I'll assume this is anywhere from 11 months to a year and a half old. Looks as a big stout should. A ton of rich, dark chocolate, heavily roasted malt, some malty, milky qualities in the finish (that I find is present in nearly every stout that I've tried). Super smooth and a pleasure to drink. I expected more, to be honest, but it's really good. I slowly consumed and let breathe for three hours and the qualities really shine at room temperature. Very much a RIS, as it's strong, unique, and boozy. A massive stout for an incredible price. The right beer for the particular occasion today (hoophouse frame completion).

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Photo of jageraholic
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged about a year. Served in a tulip.

A: big and black, like the rumors. Tannish head. Great lacing.

S: dark fruit, anise, molasses, peppery, coffee, vanilla, alcohol.

T: mocha, espresso, sweet molasses, Dark chocolate, cherries. Slightly bitter in the end.

M: incredibly thick. Really coats the mouth. Sightly drying finish. Would leave a sugary coating on everything.

O: a bit sweet, but delicious, big and balanced. Excellent cold weather feast of a beer

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling a cellar tamp bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours jet black like motor oil, with a creamy tan head of about 2 cm that fades to a sturdy edge layer with a bit of wispy islands in the center.
Aroma is rich and malty with dark chocolate and dark fruit, plums and raisin, with a good dose of coffee and anise mixed in. Very complex and appealing, no real booze on the nose and no hops anywhere that I can find.
First sip reveals a rich hearty body and very fine carbonation that rolls across my palate. Texture is smooth and coats my palate after each sip, leaving a sticky feel to my mouth.
Flavor is as anticipated with lots of roasted malt and coffee I also get a bit of dark chocolate mixed in. There is some brown sugar sweetness and dark fruit again mixing with anice and heavy roasted malt on the finish. There is a bit of warming booze on each swallow but the beer in general is easy to drink, especially for the higher ABV.
I find this a very enjoyable imperial stout and would definitely purchase again if I found it while shopping for beers.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in December 2013, consumed in August 2015, so aged for 20 months. Dark black with a decent head. Lots of dark chocolate and fruit notes. It was very creamy with a dry finish. Solid RIS.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rested in my basement for six months. On second thought - it probably was lifting weights and reading and meditating for 180 days straight and now it's buff, mellow and smart as fuck. Look out! This world class stout pours a rich black with moderate head. Great coffee, chocolate, malt, toffee flavors mask the heavy ABV like magic. Not cloying or sticky at all. Sweet, bitter with a silky mouthfeel. Unbelievable taste that makes for a memorable beer. At this ABV it could mellow for a long time and not lose much of anything; looking forward to trying it fresh next time around. A must have.

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Photo of RickGrimes
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big viscious black colour with brown, frothy and ethernal head. Aroma of reisin, black dark choccolate, licorice, plump, Coffee. Flavour is the same, big chocolate, sweet plump, reisin, cocoa bean, cofee bean. Best imperial stout in the world.

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Photo of stcules
3.74/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black. One finger, scarce, of brown foam.
Coffee and cocoa beans, toasted and burnt barley, a hint of dry fruit.
In the mouth, some vanilla, a stronger dry fruit (almond), again coffee and bitter cocoa, and a light liquorice.
Not too smooth and round, maybe not too elegant, but still a well made beer, and intriguing, even if not an easy drink.
A bit more warm, it become a bit more smooth and round too.
Afertaste with coffee, toasted malt, rhubarb in the end, some woody note.

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Photo of Damian
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1pt.6fl.oz. bottle purchased at Liquor World, Cambridge, MA
Bottled in: May 2014
Served in a snifter

Outstanding appearance. The beer poured a viscous dark brown (bordering on black) and was topped by an incredibly tight and creamy, inch tall crown of cappuccino colored foam. Phenomenal retention. The head took minutes to reduce in height. A blanket of drippy, patchy lacing coated the glass and lasted throughout the session.

Really solid aroma. Rich, smooth and robust. Roasted malts and light and dark chocolate notes dominated. Chocolate brownies and chocolate fudge came to mind. Lots of smokiness as well. Brown sugar and molasses were also noticeable. Hint of booze.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but perhaps not quite as rounded. Quite roasty and smoky. Chocolatey. Very fudge-like. Espresso came through in the middle. Good dose of brown sugar-like sweetness. Perhaps some maple syrup. The finish was roasty and rather boozy but not overly so. Even with a year of age on this bottle, a touch of piney hop bitterness appeared as well. Ashy notes lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was absolutely incredible. Outrageously creamy and frothy. Super smooth and supple on the palate. The liquid contained a fine, slick, moderate effervescence. Had I not known, I would have sworn that this was poured from a nitro tap. Toward the end of the session, the sugars in the beer left a sticky film on my lips.

Barbapapa is a whopper of a Russian Imperial Stout that drinks far bigger than its 12% ABV would suggest. While the taste and aroma were both commendable, the appearance and mouthfeel were simply spectacular. Unlike many of the limited release stouts, this one can be purchased for a mere $8. That said, dollar for dollar, this is one of the best stouts I have ever tried.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed in a tulip glass. Thanks, Alan, for sharing.

A: Black as night with a ruby rim. Not much head nor lacing.

S: Dark fruits abound with leather and anise, coffee, caramel and a spot of vanilla.

T: Follows nose with a sumptuous noise. So damn good. Let it warm for maximum punch.

M: Medium to heavy with medium, chewy carbonation.

O: Glad I got to try this heavy duty kick-ass RIS. I'll seek this out again.

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Photo of mactrail
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown-black with a handsome head of dark beige in the Maredsous goblet. Mouthfeel starts out with nice clouds of carbonation and a prickle to go with the sweetness.

Such an abundance of sweet malt, it might be called candy-like. But the burnt sugar and a rumble of hops provide some balance. Deep caramel flavor with a little chocolate. More mellow than the high-hop versions.

Totally sippable and one of the in the RIS style. It's just swet as sin. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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Photo of galwayjoyce
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible RIS.
Velvet mouthfeel, Rich with chocolate, vanilla, and almost overwhelming caramel notes. Best last-minute beer purchase I have made in recent memory. $6 with my employee discount, but at under $10 retail, a GREAT value.

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Photo of sdeese21
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bad boy up at a beer store in Louisiana! Light beading of carbonation around the edge of the glass and jet black in color. Definitely a noticeable hoppiness upfront. This velvety beer finishes strong with a nice heat at the end. A top notch non-barreled RIS for sure!

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Photo of brianjay
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark, medium bodied stout with nearly zero head and a light aroma of shortbread cookies and toast. The sweetness also noticeable in the flavor. The darker, roasted malt taste hangs around but is secondary.

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bottled may 2014

A very nicely hopped RIS. Comparable to Nightstalker and Blot Out the Sun. Wasn't expecting so much hop forwardness and don't hear a lot of others describing it.

I'm going to sit on my other bottle for at least another year and see how it goes.

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Photo of Beglane
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated may 2014. Poured into a tulip glass. Served at 50 degrees. Wow this is great!! Truly remarkable, Pretty Things brewery are on top of their game with this IRS. I would recommend that this beer be cellared like a wine for 6 months. Cheers!

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Photo of Houser
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours black with minimal colored mocha head. aromas are coffee, molasses, and raosted malts, with the taste being very similar. taste is much the same, but much thicker and sweeter than i thought. solid.

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Photo of WoostaBia
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best imperial stouts available. Had been looking forward to tasting this and was not disappointed. A friend recommended last year but I never got around to getting it. Thick viscosity, oil black, chocolate, coffee smell comes through very well. Smooth roasted malt flavor, alcohol is well hidden. Awesome beer!

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Photo of EGoldings
5/5  rDev +13.9%

This is just lovely. Beautiful dark color and lacing. Aroma is coffee, chocolate, molasses. Taste is the same with added caramel. Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied. This might just be my favorite RIS.

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Photo of RickS95
4.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything about the appearane is simply stunning. From it's dark thick pour to its slow-forming, cascading brown head, it's really a head turner. Pitch black beer with a thick dark head, the look can't be improved upon. The head is over a finger thick, creamy, and retains well. As the cherry on top, the lacing fills the whole glass.

Has the smell you'd expect. Dark roasty things fill the grain bill, slight bittersweet chocolate hiding in the background. No hop presence and the alcohol is well-hidden.

A malt bomb of epic proportions. Milk chocolate coats the tongue. Bittersweet chocolate provides balance before the beer crosses the line. Alcohol is finally noticed.

Feel reminds one of hot chocolate. It's so smooth and creamy, it simply coats the tongue. Bittersweet chocolate emerges mid sip to begin scraping the palate clean. In the finish, alcohol provides a bit of heat for a lingering finish. Very full-bodied. A great winter warmer.

I can't believe how good this is. Virtually flawless. It's extremely strong, but so easy to drink. A stronger scent and this would have run the table with 5s.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled December 2013. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stayed around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. I like the aroma a lot, the brew smells like coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit (cherries), molasses, nuts, and bittersweet chocolate. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like roasted malt, coffee, milk and dark chocolate, nuts, molasses, smoke, nuts, and a bit of dark fruit. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's creamy and coating with a moderate amount of carbonation. I think this is a pretty good overall imperial stout, I'll have to pick up more the next time I come across some. Pretty Things did a great job with this brew! $8.99 a bomber.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%

22 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A two finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Smoke, roasted coffee, molasses, chocolate, caramel, a little soy, toffee, earthy, toasted, a little nutty, and oats.

Taste: The flavors blend really well together. Ash, roasted, chocolate, oat, toasted, nutty, molasses, toffee, caramel, earthy, slight soy, and mild bitterness in the rear. Alcohol is barely noticeable given the 12% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, deceiving hidden alcohol, low to medium carbonation, and ashy bitterness.

Overall: Truly one of the best RIS I have had. I will look forward to more of these in the future. This beer got better as it warmed.

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Photo of imscotty
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%

A: Pours a dark black, some amber coloration when held to the light. A small tan head quickly forms and then fades away. Some lacing evident.

S: Roasted grains, some alcohol, chocolate

T: Wow, really flavorful. The roasted bitterness is beautifully assertive. Roasted, chocolate, coffee, smoke, hazelnut flavors move in waves on the tongue. There is a nice balance and interplay between sweet and bitterness. The bitterness dominates in the finish and leaves you wanting another sip. This is a great beer. Gets better and better as it warms.

M: Fairly well carbonated for a beer this full bodied and assertive, it has a great mouthfeel. A bit oily and thick bodied like I want in a RIS.

O: I have always been a fan of Pretty Things, but I think they have hit this one out of the park. One of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever had that is not Barrel Aged. My hats off to Pretty Things.

PS: If anyone knows of a bottle shop that still has this on the shelves, please please PM me. Thanks.

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Photo of dsigmon
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Poured from bomber into Terrapin snifter.

A: Deep dark black pour with a thick brown head that lingers and tickles the nose.

S: Roasted malts and dark roast coffee on the nose. Hints of chocolate and vanilla linger and become more apparent as it warms.

T: Initial taste is chocolate chip and fudge brownie but is quickly followed by 90% dark chocolate and coffee notes. It finishes with coffee and burnt malts but with brownie and chocolate lingering on the tongue.

M: Perfectly done here with a nice thick motor oil feel but wonderfully carbonated. I've never encountered a stout with a mouthfeel that I enjoy more. Thick and luscious and amazing.

Overall this is my #1 non barrel aged/non chili stout to date. I'd buy a case of these if given the chance.

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Barbapapa from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
4.39 out of 5 based on 336 ratings.
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