Cabernet Barrel-Aged Laika Stout
Straight To Ale

Cabernet Barrel-Aged Laika StoutCabernet Barrel-Aged Laika Stout
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #92
Ranked #1,616
4.27 | pDev: 10.54%
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States
Cabernet Barrel-Aged Laika StoutCabernet Barrel-Aged Laika Stout
Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 174 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of dcscientist
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is another version of their base Laika beer, but this one was dominated by the cabernet flavor. Maybe age it for less time (can't believe I'm saying that!) and see if you can strike a better balance? It's still good because the base beer is good, but it's not the best version of this series.

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a quickly dissipating khaki head.
The aroma is red wine dominated with some cocoa powder roast and a fusely alcohol. The flavor is juicy dark fruits, cinnamon, oak, with a great base stout. The chocolate and roast play perfectly behind the big wine barrel notes. The finish is sweet dark chocolate with a warming booziness. It's a delicious stout with a coating mouthfeel. It's not as good as the bourbon, but it's outstanding.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a terrific offering!

The barrel is definitely prevalent in this beer both in the aroma and flavor... Big heavy red wine barrel aroma mingled with deep dark chocolate and that dark roasted malt... Fairly decent booze hits here and there...

Very interesting... My first red wine barrel aged stout and I'm digging it...

That grape is definitely coming through big time here... Not in a cloying manner, but rather as a partner to the sheer beauty of the base beer which I feel is one of the more underrated stouts on the market.. I have a bottle of the Bourbon Barrel in the fridge out in the garage which I'm also looking forward to.

Loving this beer...

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft pour at the brewery.

Highly enjoyable brew with a rich, full feel. Drinks about midway between roasty and sweet, a nice balance really and it has some distinct barrel character and some dark fruit flavors and tannins that must be the cabernet. I didn't catch an ABV but this drank like a 7-8% stout and showed no heat. Very nice.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter
2013 Batch 1

A- pours a thick and viscous jet black color with one of the darkest brown heads that I've ever seen, that eventually reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass

S- aroma is bursting with barrel notes, vinous red wine, grape-skin and wet oak bring aromas reminiscent of sherry, cherry & black currants. Undertones of milk chocolate, caramel, molasses, fudge & earthy wood

T- as with the aroma, plenty of barrel flavors come through up front; vinous red wine notes throughout even add a bit of tartness. Plenty of oak as well, along with notes of sherry, black cherry, blackberries and currant. Mid-palate brings some dark chocolate, fig & plumb. The finish gives more black currant/dark fruit, with a linger of oaky red wine

M- thick body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that turns into a velvety smooth finish, abv has mellowed out brilliantly, a hint of chalky linger

O- this is perhaps the best red wine barrel stout I've had, as the barrel notes are prominent but overpowering, a wonderful combination with the dark chocolate/roast of the base beer

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance – The beer was dark with mocha bubbles crowning the glass.

Smell – The nose was grapey, with hints of malt

Taste – My initial impression is grape skin, cigar smoke, tobacco, and syrupy chocolate. The chocolate goes dry toward the back.

Mouthfeel – The feel allowed the grape skin to cling to the roof of the mouth. Nice.

Overall – Of the Laikas, this is my favorite

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Photo of GoldenRatio
4.66/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really great BA stout.

Not much else to add to it. Looks great, smells and tastes amazing, and has a greta mouth feel.

Great, slightly burnt chocolate and coffee flavor, accompanied by a perfect amount of wine notes.

Try this if you can get some...

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Photo of tduecen
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really good, I do not get any wine barrel flavor though, taste like a typical Russian Imperial Stout. Not that it is a bad thing as I get the chocolate flavor from this beer.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No label information. Cabernet Barrel Aged Laika is brewed in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout aged in wine barrels. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a rich dark chocolate brown head of a crisp foamy consistency over a black body with no trace visibility. Retention is below average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.75

(Smell) Roasted barley, toasted chocolate and caramel, lightly toasted oak, subtle alcohol. Potency is modest. 4

(Taste) Roasted barley malt, toasted chocolate and caramel syrups, lightly accented with a soft drying oak, hearty dark fruit undertones and lightly tangy vinous red wine finish along with notes of rich burnt chocolate and moderate roast. 4.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky, slick, moderately chewy, medium dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a medium frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, heavy overall. Balance is earthy roast and sweet slightly over subtle booze and drying oak. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) Not having yet tried the base recipe, I'm wholly satisfied with this version of the Imperial Stout, and find the malt build satisfactorily rich and flavorful, a solid compliment for the softer, but ever present oak and subtleties of wine barrel aging, which contribute hues of soft acidic fruits for a deep balance. Looking forward to the Bourbon variant, although Cabernet is a bit more uncommon and the one I'd recommend picking up for a unique barrel aging experience. Plus, it's pretty damned tasty. 4.25

Straight To Ale's
Cabernet Barrel Aged Laika Russian Imperial Stout

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Photo of Jeffo
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Halo4one a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A thick black pour yields a big, 3+ finger, medium-thick, creamy looking, dark tan head with excellent retention. Jet black body with no real carbonation evident. Perhaps even a touch darker than the original. Head fades to a thick cap but leaves no lacing on the glass. A splotchy wisp remains until the end leaving lots of lacing down the glass. Huge head on this one, but pretty good looking overall.

SMELL: Big nose here with oak, cabernet, port and red wine, grapes, vanilla, milk chocolate and cherry aromas on the nose. Really nice wine barrel here. Bold and definitely enticing.

TASTE: Red wine, port, oak and grapes up front. Flavorful for sure. Boozy too, with a decent shot of wine and alcohol at the swallow. Big and boozy finish of wood, wine, port, grapes, milk chocolate and sweet vanilla lingering on the palate. Some good pure chocolatey bitterness and a touch of burnt malts from the base beer play a role as well. Lots of flavor and a decadent barrel presence here. Really good.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Not quite as creamy as others, a little prickly on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn and finishes sticky. Some heat lingers. As it sits, the prickly feel calms and it gets a little smoother.

OVERALL: This is definitely the best of the three beer set. Very, very good stuff. The look is good across the board on these beers, but this one has the most decadent barrel character and the base stout plays a quality supporting role as well. The feel could be a little creamier and smoother perhaps, but that’s a minor issue. Excellent stuff and worth checking out if you get the chance. Thanks again Halo4one. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Buck89
4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Almost jet black and viscous on the pour. A modest dark tan head developed that quickly disappeared but left some wispy foam behind. On the first whiff, I smelled the cabernet first, with cherries and dark fruit. This was followed by oak, vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malt. The taste was interesting as expected. I tasted chocolate-covered cherries at first, with oak, vanilla, chocolate and a less sour/more cabernet flavor as it warmed. A nice warming and the 12% ABV was well-hidden. Overall, a great offering but I prefer their BA version.

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Photo of kbwalters
3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a goblet type glass; vintage 2015.
Look = 4.25 Pours a dark black with 1 finger of dark brown head that fades to a ring, good lace.
Aroma = 4.5 Milk chocolate is the dominate aroma highlighted with a subtle fruitiness; the cabernet comes through nicely in the nose.
Taste = Roasty notes mostly from the stout with a boozy finish. Mild fruity notes with some chocolate and coffee. Moderately bitter finish but overall not an exceptional taste.
Feel = 3.5 Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation; smooth feel but not creamy. Too thin.
Drinkability = 3.75
Overall = 3.975 Solid look and aroma but lacking somewhat in taste and mouthfeel, overall not a terrible or a great stout. The cabernet comes through in both the aroma and taste.

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Photo of SanFranJake
3.69/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed this one thanks to @richj1970.
Poured into a STA snifter #properglassware, also thanks to Rich.
Poured a nice deep dark black color with two fingers of a mocha colored head.
Nose...wasn't an imperial stout and didn't detect any of the wine...sort of a unique nose. Though to be fair, I've never had a Cab BA stout before.
It could have been a bad bottle or maybe my newness to the barrel characteristics (though living 30 minutes from grade-A wine country, I've had my share of big, bold Cab's) but this one was a miss for me.
I love the BBA Laika, so I had high hopes for this one. Enjoyable, just didn't live up to the BBA version.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Luscious, robust and smooth as silk, the Russian imperial stout of Laika takes nice long slumber inside red wine barrels for an extra set of complexities that don't simply coax out the natural dark fruit esters of the stout, but exagerate their qualities and provide an acidic balance that works beautifully.

Cabernet Barrel-Aged Laika is a lavishly inky black stout that swells with a mocha-stained marshmallow fluff. A tinge of rust leads the way while the nose is drawn in by dark chocolate, espresso and dark fruit. As the robust sweetness slathers onto the tongue, the tastebuds are awash in wonderfully seared in, burnt sweetness of molasses, toffee and fudge.

With the mouth fully engulfed in its riches, the sweetness retracts slightly to give the middle palate the common stout character of burnt toast, smoldering embers and robust dark roast coffee. And as the plummy, figy, raisony esters rise, the barrel begins to layer on complexities of black cherry, blackcurrant and blackberry.

With the finish looming, the full and viscous ale is slightly chewy, but saved by the piquant tang of full red wine. Its acidity couples with roast-derived acidity for a balance that doesn't only rely on woodsy hops; but offers a unique sense of dryness and drinkability with wood spices and grape lurking onward. Its charming aftertaste of bittersweet chocolate and red wine is a masterful combination for lovers of fruit and chocolate desserts.

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Photo of ccg
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle of the 2015 batch poured into a Bruery snifter.
The look is excellent. It pours midnight black with a good two fingers of dark tan froth. Swirling it around leaves dense lacing. The head sticks around for a long time.
The smells is rich and malty, and the wine barrel is quite noticeable. It has a smell that I guess you would call tannic, and it's oaky.
It's flavorful -- malt, dark chocolate, red wine, plums, oak. The dryness of the red wine counters the sweetness of the stout, although, as I drink it, I can feel the sugar building up on my teeth.
The feel is pretty good -- creamy and rich -- but also a tad on the thin side for a barrel-aged stout. It comes across as denser as it warms up.
Overall: I had Cabernet BA Laika on draft at Leroy in Montgomery in mid-November. I don't know if that was an early-access keg of the 2015 batch that they got or if it was some of the 2014 batch they had been hanging onto, but I have to compare this bottle to that draft. On draft, it was a top-tier BA stout. It was rich, dense, chocolately, with tons of dark fruit and barrel character. The smell was phenomenal, and the mouthfeel was just about perfect. This bottle is still good, but it's not blowing me away like it did on draft. Nevertheless, I'd recommend drinking this beer if you can get your hands on it. I'm going to cellar a bottle for a few months to see how it ages.

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Photo of FBGordon
4.89/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured on draft into an Irish pint glass. NOTE: This was the 2014 Cab BA Laika consumed in November 2015.

A: Pours a rich, thick black with a thick chocolate milk head that never dissipates and laces perfectly.

S: Strong notes of dark fruits. Raisins, plums. Wine notes and booze.

T: Lots and lots of dark, bittersweet chocolate, Cabernet grapes, dark fruits and roast. The Cabernet barrel aging smooths out the bitterness from the roasted malts. There are not-so-subtle notes of alcohol.

M: Big, smooth and creamy with tight carbonation. The beer coats the palate pleasantly and is slightly warming.

O: A huge, flavorful, outstanding beer that shouldn't be underestimated in any capacity. The Cabernet barrel aging smooths out this RIS pefectly. It's like drinking a glass of Cabernet while popping chocolates in your mouth. Drink all you can. Hoard it. Covet it. But do drink it!

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Photo of mackeyse
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Trade from Matt in Alabama back in 2014. Been holding on to this as I wasn't feeling the wine aspect but time to try it.

A:Black with very minimal head.

A: Initial rush of wine fades pretty fast after a few minutes. Sweet and malty aroma remains.

T/M: Dark fruits and chocolate. Catch a nice jolt of booze as well. Truly tastes like it smells. Mouthfeel is a little sticky but doesn't linger long.

Well crafted and hides the 11.70% well. It's a sipper but I found myself drinking it a bit faster than I should. This was damn good and I don't find myself enjoying wine w/ my stouts. I realized I rated their BA version very high as well so this seems to be a consistent thing with STA (didn't love Unobtanium as much---different style I know).

This was unexpected and ranks with one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated bomber at 41 degrees into tulip, drank through 62 degrees.
Aroma initially fruity and vinous, rapidly disappearing and becoming sweet and roasted malty
Head none; small layer of fizz which disappears almost immediately, leaving a 3 mm island of tiny bubbles
Lacing poor – rare small island of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor predominantly of vanillin and roasted malt, sweet; no hops, no alcohol in taste but burn starts immediately upon swallowing, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.66/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Medium mocha head. Medium collar.

Smell - Roasted malt. Some red wine. Kinda nice.

Taste - Sweet. Roasted malt. Red wine is nice. Intense roasted malt flavor. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Boozy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Boozy, but the cabernet flavor is nice.

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4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wonderful chocolate brown head that sits on the jet black body. Nose definitely shows the alcohol content of this beer. Out if this world dynamic flavor from this beer. Zesty and bold without being to heavy on the mouthfeel. Rich and chocolate like on the mouthfeel. This one could age a bot more, but it is wonderful now.

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Photo of redskull
5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not your every day Imperial stout but when that time comes and you feel deserving of something special.... Cab Laika. Credit where credit is due, the guys at Straight to Ale really outdid themselves with this beer!

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After having the regular version of Laika and being a little disappointing I'm pleasantly surprised by this one.

The cabernet, and dryness that accompanies it, pairs perfectly with the chocolatey sweetness of the Laika. Dark ripe fruits, slight bitterness, and a slight alcohol burn make this one a delightful treat.

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Photo of dar482
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The aroma hits of the base with chocolate, caramel sweetness, and hops. Then a big punch of dark fruit, grape skin, tannic red wine.

The beer moves on with big milk chocolate, caramel, woody hops, umami, a burst of alcohol. Then onto red wine character, some sweetness from dark fruits, cherry, red grape, tannic Cabernet drying and oak in the back.

A medium plus mouthfeel.

One of the better red wine barrel aged brews I've tried.

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Photo of Jacurdy60
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a motor oil black with a thin, dark brown colored head

S-Sweet chocolate, chocolate syrup, cherries, other dark fruits, currants, oak, vanilla, and booze comes in fairly strong as well.

T-Booze hits hard at first and finishes with a bite. Between is a layered chocolate, dark fruit and oaky taste that balances well and is complemented by the booze nicely. Well balanced.

MF-Thick, full bodied. Finishes crisp because of the booze which is not well hidden.

O-Damn good beer. All the flavors come through well but the booze is a bit too much on the finish. Other than that, it's everything a stout should be.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at Oneinchaway's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, dark fruit, red wine, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, cinnamon, red wine, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with great red wine barrel aged characteristics that are slightly better in the smell to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Cabernet Barrel-Aged Laika Stout from Straight To Ale
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 174 ratings