Worthy Adversary
Fulton Beer

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #220
Ranked #3,641
4.12 | pDev: 8.01%
Fulton Beer
Minnesota, United States
Worthy AdversaryWorthy Adversary
Notes: This Russian Imperial Stout is not exactly a lightweight. It’s about drawing a line in the sand. It has a consistency similar to 5W-30. Adventurous tattoo artists have used it in place of ink. If left outside during winter, it won’t freeze, even in Minnesota. Beneath the shadowy exterior, a swirling ambush of coffee and dark chocolate flavors lurk atop a mountain of malt. For much of the year, the Worthy Adversary lays low, as if beneath the cover of canopy jungle. Don’t leave this aggression unchecked, or you may find it facing you down—eyeball to eyeball.
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 431 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2015 - consumed on 3-22-2020

Pours a thick pitch black. There's actually a 1 finger tan head, and the head actually lasts a very long time. Not much lacing on the glass.
The nose is very strong and powerful. Got a nice caramel aroma. Chocolate. Maybe a hint of coffee. Very rich smelling.
Taste - Almost a nutty flavor here. Tons of caramel. A hint of chocolate. I don't get the coffee that I was smelling in the flavor. It says it's 81 IBU, but not getting much in the way of hops.
Thick, and very rich feeling. Very full bodied. Not much of a boozy flavor.
Solid RIS, and I'm a huge fan of "big beers" being in a smaller bottle.

Mar 23, 2020
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metter98 from New York

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Fulton Beer, Minneapolis, MN

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a narrow beige collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark malts and licorice are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, except that it has a bit more flavors of licorice along with notes of dark roasted malts.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malt flavors also contribute some dryness.
O: This isn't as heavy or intense compared to there beers in the style so it is relatively easy to drink compared to other Russian Imperial Stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

Aug 03, 2019
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Jeffo from Netherlands

3.47/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one hopsolutely this past summer. Cheers!

From a 16oz can into a snifter
IBU: 81

APPEARANCE: A clear black pour yields a 1+ finger, medium-thicker, creamy, light brown head with great retention. Black body with no real carbonation. Head slowly fades to a thin wisp. A ring and dots of wisp remain but leave no real lacing on the glass as it empties.

SMELL: Roasted aromas with dark chocolate, leather, molasses and licorice on the nose. A bit of tobacco as well. Bold.

TASTE: Leather, molasses and some tobacco up front. Some dark chocolate and more leather at the swallow, moving into a bold and persistent finish of leather, sweet molasses and a good deal of hop bitterness as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, a bit light, goes down fine with a bit of a burn and finishes a bit sticky.

OVERALL: This is okay. I prefer more chocolate and coffee character in this style, but this is still a well-executed, more European style big stout. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the Euro-style side of the story. Thanks again, guys!

Oct 24, 2018
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chinchill from South Carolina

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz 2015 bottle on 8 October 2018.
Pours opaque and near black in color with a short but very durable tan head.
Roasted grains and chocolate notes dominate the aroma, but there is also some sweet caramel and coffee as well as alcohol esters.
Flavor: some sweetness that is balanced by bitterness and a hint of smoke. Notes of coffee, cocoa, and chocolates mix together nicely.
Feel: thick and full but not syrupy. Smooth with some warming alcohol but not hot or harsh.
Overall: a well crafted, straightforward RIS.

Oct 08, 2018
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schoolboy from Ohio

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My second Fulton brew, second Fulton big stout, second winner.

It pours black and opaque, with little bubbles, but not a lot of them. Nice lacing. The aroma is sweet and malty. The taste is well settled in on this 2016 dated bottle. Mild, sweet and easy drinking for the huge style. Alcohol is obviously there, but nicely balanced with the malts and some hops. It was nice of them to make a 2016 sample available through their distributors, but I preferred the exceptional imperial Russian coffee stout from them, War and Peace.


Mar 31, 2018
Photo of novamat
novamat from Illinois

4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Echoing what others have said, just a well executed RIS. Keep looking for adjuncts because of the balance between sweet and dry, but they’re not needed. Comparable to Expedition, well worth picking up.

Dec 27, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

some next level imperial stout right here, no barrels, no force fed adjuncts, just a really solid stout, technically near perfection, and something i think the beer community is thirsting for more and more as cocoa vanilla marshmallow coconut cinnamon almond stouts seem to be taking over the market, and anything that goes in a barrel gets instant cred, deserved or not. this is short of a middle finger to all of that, but to my palate it is, and i love it. near black in color with a solid half inch of deep mocha head, looks the part, smooth and sturdy. aroma and flavor are classic but so dialed in. tons of roast and mash character, some caramelized elements but balanced by a lot of bitter, burnt layers, and even a hint of smoke and cocoa. its thick but it isnt syrupy, and the finish is dry and bitter for what it is, with some warming alcohol to clean it away, but not hot or harsh even at temperature. its smooth and relaxed all the way, is surprisingly versatile with food, and doesnt drink as strong as it is at all. i love the earthy chocolate and coffee layers from the grain, and the minerals this seems to have in it. suggestions of root beer, oak, and molasses in here too, all very well tied in. this beer needs nothing, and reminds me of when i first had old rasputin all those years ago and thought how remarkably well made and classic it was. this is in that same high level category for me. one of fultons best, one of the best anywhere!

Sep 26, 2017
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darktronica from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An excellent Russian imperial with strong roast and a short, dry finish. I'm contrary to the average ratings and would say that I prefer Worthy Adversary to its coffee variant, War and Peace. This stands alone quite well and has been consistently high quality through multiple bottles of multiple vintages.

Feb 18, 2017
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calarkin from District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look is dark with medium sized head light tan head. Taste is dry as should be but with almost a fruity hint. Smooth for the ABV. Solid russian imperial stout. Nothing out of this world but would recommend.

Feb 03, 2017
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Rytr from California

4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I won't go into great detail, as other before me have said what needs to be said. But what strikes me most about this beer is the linger.

The sip, swish and swallow, come and go with not much a small breeze. But then it hits. A wave of flavor, crawls back up and smacks you like an x girlfriend. Then it sits. Very much like salsa that is a touch too hot.

This beer makes you remember it. Not the best stout, but love what it does for me right now.


Jan 28, 2017
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Rogerlb from California

4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A careful pour, and no head at all. Black as ink. Aroma is a nice balanced malt-wet cocoa blend.

Taste is cocoa, coffee, some anise, vanilla. No real hops or bitterness makes it more chocolate, less char. Bit of leather, along with a sweet molasses. Quite smooth overall, and thick. Mouthfeel is a little sticky, the roastiness is quite present but not at all burnt. This is not Mission Dark Seas. Yet not too sweet either. A minor citrus comes in on the back end.

95% pretty well hidden. Thick, damn good, easy to drink RIS.

Jan 27, 2017
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Tone from Missouri

4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black color. 1/5 inch head of a tan color. Slight retention and decent lacing. Smells of chocolate, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of yeast, slight oatmeal, alcohol, and a hint of dark citrus. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of chocolate, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of yeast, slight oatmeal, alcohol, and a hint of dark citrus. Overall, weak appearance and a little too sweet, but otherwise a great RIS.

Dec 23, 2016
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark black pour - ink...oil...blackened grease. Head is chocolate cream colored and stays at about 1/2 finger in the tall snifter. Last drops of the bottle fall slowly. I can tell already how heavy this beer is.

Aromas of charred firewood at first sniff, followed by sweet black licorice, ground coffee, and oatmeal.

Flavors of dark, roasted malts, a kiss of sweet prune, a light coating of milk chocolate, coffee grounds, and sweet alcohol soaked dark fruits sprinkled with anise crystals. Finish waxes into burnt grains. Citrus comes out as it warms, I prefer to drink this cold.

Feel is huge. Just thick and otherworldly. Milkshake-like. Thickest ever? Nah. A top contender? Yeah, definitely.

Overall, I'm glad I picked up the four pack of Worthy Adversary. It reminds me a lot of Old Raspy but not as sweet and a little more staleness. Absolutely not bad at all.

Aug 30, 2016
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Pours thick, viscous, ebony. Dark khaki head and lace. 4.75

Aroma is a blend of dark chocolate and dark stone fruit. Touch of solvent booze. Creamy sweetness. 4

First half of the palate works just fine, although treading lightly as far as flavor. I get dark chocolate and plums like the nose. Mid-palate things start to go awry. Heavy, rubbing alcohol booze pushes in and floods the tongue in such a way as to practically sterilize my palate. I have to take a break and see if some warmth does this any good. Annnnd, yes, this fills out a bit and the liquor recedes. The roasted malt character develops a bit more character and flavor.

I still find this a bit hot. Solvent-like. It interrupts from the creaminess and makes this less smooth than desirable. 3.5

Good but a bit disappointing. I would expect a cleaner drinker here.

Apr 29, 2016
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Evilyak from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

looks like it should. smells roasty and tastes sweet. 9.5% is noticeable here - not overwhelming but the booze ain't shy. mouth is a bit viscous and rich.

i'd hit it again.

Apr 06, 2016
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drpimento from Wisconsin

3.12/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad. Very bitter with a little lingering sweetness. Some medicinal qualities under the cocoa, black patent, hint of molasses. Little out of balance on the bitter side for me.

Mar 14, 2016
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Ri0 from Wisconsin

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter. Obsidian with a thin 1 finger brown head. Minimal retention and a thin ring clings to the glass. Some spotty lacing on the glass. I pick up big roasty malts and dark fruit. Bitter chocolate, caramel, toffee provide a nice sweetness followed by some bitter hops. Flavor of bold bitter chocolate, dark fruit, more bitter coffee and some woodiness. The middle finds the sweetness of caramel and it finishes with a bit of hops. Creamy, rich and smooth with thick body. Great RIS and it reminds me of GD Yeti.

Feb 19, 2016
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Wer34truh from Minnesota

4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color, with a small head which dissipates quickly.

Smells very much the style, with a chocolate nose, and some stingy coffee aroma as well. Has some not-so-minor smoked tones as well.

Taste is predominately chocolate, with a substansial amount of molasses which adds some bitterness. Despite this, it's quite sweet, which adds welcome nuance in the taste. Mouthfeel is quite light, and it's quite easy to drink overall.

Jan 27, 2016
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Drinkzumbeer from Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap in a 12oz tulip glass. Incredible nose of dark chocolate and roasted malts. The palate hits you with an extremely creamy mouth feel that is loaded with roasted coffee, burnt malts and a hint of molasses. A nice pleasant warming sensation on the finish, but is not boozy what so ever even at the impressive 9.5% alcohol. I have to pick up a 4-pack soon to keep me warm in these brutally cold Minnesota winters.

Jan 21, 2016
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creepinjeeper from Missouri

4.36/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Libbey porter/stout glass.
Look - Motor oil in color. Tan head that starts out fluffy and settles quickly. No lacing to mention.
Smell - Molasses and chocolate. Whiff of roasted grains.
Taste - Hint of roasted malts and coffee bitterness. Mostly sweet. Chocolate with molasses finish.
Feel - Looks thicker than it feels. Slick and creamy.
Overall - Totally enjoyed this one. Nice morning stout for sure. Wish I lived closer to Fulton. Solid local brewery making equally solid beers.

Nov 27, 2015
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Warming, Sweet, Char, Even

Sometimes I don’t feel like drinking the Russian Imperial Stouts from my stash in the winter. This lovely beast hits hard with a one-two combo of sweetness and roasted/burnt maltiness. Then the alcohol lays down a mellowing warmth that I did not even notice until a few sips in. Everything is quite balanced in the finish, which makes me want to go in for another sip. An exceptional drink and a worthy adversary indeed.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout | ABV: 9.5% | AVAILABILITY: Seasonal

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #101 (JUN 2015)

Aug 25, 2015
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larryi86 from Delaware

4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thank you garymuchow for this!
12 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Jet black with a two finger mocha head

S- Dark fruits, figs, creamy chocolate, caramel, faint roasted coffee, very rich.

T- Not as big or rich as the nose, dark fruit, dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee finish, molasses.

M- Smooth, medium body, carbonation is a light high.

O- Though the taste falls short compared to the nose this is still a well done stout. If Fulton ever does a bourbon barrel version I would love to it.

Jul 13, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Bright dark brown under a finely bubbled 2” tan foam collar that leaves Guinness quality lace.
S: alcohol, faint coffee, chocolate
T: Deliscious grain, espresso, chocolate creaminess. Has a nice grain in the background – oily in a good way.
F: Very rich and creamy medium low carbonation but fine and soft – almost nitro quality, full body to chewy. Some alcohol warming.
O: It has an excellent balance of grainy malt, espresso, and chocolate

Apr 10, 2015
Photo of marieli
marieli from Texas

3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draft. Let it warm a bit before starting. Good dark color with small tan head that didn't stick. Color was more cola as quantity went down. Aroma was minimal. Malt with some chocolate sweetness as it warmed. Taste was coffee on first drink. But it was more of a meld as it warmed. Nothing distinguished. Couldn't really pick out the chocolate. That's not to say it wasn't good! A nice blend. No booze at all for 9+ ABV. Smooth with a little backside bitterness. Medium feel. This beer does not distinguish itself but it's not a bad drink. It just doesn't stand out.

Mar 25, 2015
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deford from California

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 750 ml bottle into a Stone IRS Tulip with a nice hard pour.

L- Oh so dark, no light comes through at all. Very nice 2 fingers of caramel colored head that fades in a few minutes leaving little trace behind.

S- Very definitely dark fruits and chocolate. Bananas come on after a bit with some roasty something or other. Maybe a little licorice.

T- Dark fruits again with cocoa and coffee beans. A bit of molasses, maybe some sweet cherries and a little more roasted coffee. Finishes with a dry bitter hoppieness that balances the sweets just right...really nice!

F- Luscious....just right not too sticky and not too dry.

O- Overall its quite satisfying. Sweet fruits balanced by dry hops with a little char to blend things together a bit. As it warms the alcohol comes forward a bit...pretty much a sipper.

Mar 22, 2015
Worthy Adversary from Fulton Beer
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 431 ratings