Imperial Brown Stout London 1856 | The Kernel Brewery

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
95 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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Imperial Brown Stout London 1856Imperial Brown Stout London 1856
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Kernel Brewery
England, United Kingdom
thekernelbrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by thepeter on 05-07-2011

BEER STATS
Ratings:
95
Reviews:
31
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.04%
 
 
Wants:
28
Gots:
15
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 |  Reviews: 31
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

[Reviewed from notes taken in late Summer 2014.]

9.80% ABV.

330ml brown glass bottle with a classy understated label design purchased at Craft Beer Co. Clerkenwell, London, England, and served into a stem-tulip. Bottled: 07.10.13. BB: 07.10.18. Consumed at cellar temperature.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: None. Just a brief pale khaki ring of foam immediately after the pour that disappears almost immediately. No lacing.

BODY: Opaque solid jet black (not brown, contrary to its name). No yeast/sediment is visible within. Looks like any other traditional porter, lacking any unique or special characteristics as well as the titular brown colour.

AROMA: Actually, I detect bourbon (even though I know it's not there). Vanilla mainly but no oak. That's odd.

Dark malts, chocolate malts, cream, a kiss of hazelnut. Malty as it is, it's not too sweet.

Quite appealing, but not up to par with the aromas of the best expressions of the style.

A pleasant aroma of mild intensity.

No overt yeasty notes or off-notes are detectable. No overt hoppy notes either.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, of apt thickness, well-carbonated, and slightly sticky.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Suits the taste decently. Doesn't accentuate specific flavours, but it does have a fairly heavy, hefty presence on the palate that plays well to the maltiness of the brew.

TASTE: Dark, schwarz, and specialty chocolate malts comprise the malt backbone. Herbal hints of fennel, anise, and mint play across the palate. Herbal hops complement the herbs. A kiss of vanilla. Raisin. Mellow sticky plum; indistinct vague dark fruits.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

It's balanced, albeit simple for the style. There ain't nothing brown about it from colour to malt flavour; it's a pretty conventional dark porter.

Far from the most complex, subtle, nuanced, or well-layered imperial porter I've had, but well-built and cohesive. Not a gestalt harmonious whole of a beer; the build isn't seamlessly put together or carefully considered. It's more of a loose combination of flavours, most of which are effective. This doesn't have the concise deliberate flavour profile of better imperial porters, but I do like it.

OVERALL: It's a nicely executed imperial porter, and one I wouldn't mind having again (or aging), but it's not world-class fare. I've had far better, and I'm not sure what the "brown" bit is meant to refer to. A nice little English stab at an imperial porter, but it can't compete with the big dogs. Worth trying when in England, though.

Hides its ABV well and is more drinkable than many brews of this strength. A wee bit of age would likely mellow it out.

B- (3.39) / WORTHY

 2,753 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black color with dark mocha head. Dark roasty aroma with some light fruity character. Taste follows with bitter roasted malts and a bit caramel. Definitely not the sweet kind of imperial stout. This one is all about the roastiness. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, smooth and easy drinking. Really nice beer.

 302 characters

Photo of dcmchew
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown, borderline black, with a dark mocha head, small, but sticky.
Coffee liqueur and raisin, smokey roasted malts, anise, sherry (really boozy-prickly on the nostrils), dark chocolate, light earthiness. A lot going on here.
Rich dark chocolate-covered raisin and dried cherry up front, with a drop of strong brandy and some plum juice. A rich spiciness, with cinnamon and anise, faint nutmeg even, hinting at Port wine, kinda. The roasted malts are dense, coating, a bit smokey, finishing with burnt cereal and roasted coffee bean, a bit dry.
Aftertaste lacks the dark fruity note, but compensates with rich cocoa powder, roast and coffee. Medium body, very low carbonation, really palate-coating, but not sticky. Alcohol simply strengthens the flavors, it isn't boozy at all.
A really awesome big beer that retains a really authentic feel. Balanced and complex at the same time.

 886 characters

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of tobelerone
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Erik-P
3.52/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Hayley_86
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of wl0307
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the Kernel Brewery in London, bottle-conditioned in a 330ml brown bottle, bottled on 02/01/13, BB 02/01/17, served cool in Gulden Draak’s branded short-stemmed tulip-shaped sniffer. Note: This is the second Russian Imperial Stout I’ve tried from this microbrewery, the first one being the no-longer-available “Imperial Stout”, clocked at 12.5%abv. It was good, but very heavy indeed. Let’s see how this slightly lighter version fares…

A: the colour comes pitch black, topped with a creamy but not tight frothy dark-tan head with okay retention, while the carbonation level is unknown.
S: the smell is that of a modern take on the style, that it’s dominated by gristy black malts, roasted barley, bitter chocolates, vanilla-ish cocoa, smoked beans, and creamy cold coffee, underlined by a light tinge of hop aroma from perhaps a more traditional hop variety. A very good swirl brings up the warming alc. sandwiched b/w winey fruitiness and decent salted-sourness as of black date preserve and preserved hawthorn fruits. Potent, with a decent degree of complexity at play.
T: medium-bodied on the initial swallow, the flavour is immediately chewy burned- and brown- malty with light hints of estery banana oil, while the warming alc. is well hidden behind the ensuing wave of roast coffee beans, highly bitter chocolates, crushed burned walnuts, (faint) treacle, and (even lighter) hints of jammy dark fruits, then giving way to a solid profile of highly bitter earthy hoppiness; as the bitterness settles, the taste leads onto a lengthy, chewy-woody, aromatic nutty and burned aftertaste. From the start to the end, in each sip I simply fail to pick up overly warming alc., a sign that the beer is very well composed and the ageing potential truly can be very good from the outset of this batch (considering it’s only 2.5 months old upon consumption).
M&O: the mouthfeel remains smooth, fairly rounded, not quite heavy-bodied yet befitting the overall flavour profile just well. As said above, this one definitely tastes more like a modern RIS, despite a suspicion that the subtitle “London 1856” on the label might suggest the recipe dates back to that age(?). For, a level of staleness typical of a robust, aged dark/pale ale back then is not shown enough in this bottle; not like Harvey’s interpretation of the olden style, for instance. But all in all this is a very successful take on the style; the hop profile is not so much “in the face” like many American counterparts, but the bitterness level is substantial enough to effect a good balance vis-à-vis the heavy roast malts and render a satisfying finish in each every sip I’ve taken. Will grab a few more bottles this weekend and age them for consumption over the next five years!

 2,782 characters

Photo of kscaldef
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours nearly still, just a slight suggestion of head, no bubbles visible. Dark cola color, with moderately thick legs.

S: Nutty chocolate. Even as it warms up, pretty minimal, perhaps hindered by lack of carbonation.

T: Certainly not an American Imperial Stout. This keeps the classic london stout characteristics, but dials everything up a bit, without getting sweet or cloying or harsh. Dark chocolate, a hint of coffee and dried dark fruit

M: A delicate balance. Slight sweetness lingers on the corners of the mouth, but generally finishes dry, but not overly bitter. No carbonation to speak of, but despite that it isn't heavy.

 637 characters

Photo of bylerteck
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of bark
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The colour is black (100 EBC), the two finger head is brown and compact, It sinks slowly leaving some lacing on the glass.

The smell is smooth with notes of brandy-like alcohol, roasted nuts and chocolate/cocoa. Hints of toffee and condensed milk. It is milder than expected.

The taste is very sweet (although a smooth sweetness) and roasted/burned. Passing clean strong bitterness and some malt sourness. Notes of molasses, dried flowers, orange peel and coconut candy. Medium body. The aftertaste got growing clean bitterness, green tomatoes and unripe bananas. Hints of charcoal and chocolate brown malt. The finish is rather short and dry with clean bitterness and burned malts.

The carbonation is smooth with lots of small foaming bubbles. The liquid is thick and creamy.

A very interesting and tasty beer; it would have been too sweat and heavy if it hadn’t been for the passing powerful bitterness.

 915 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle served in a tulip. Bottled on 20.10.16 Best before 20.02.21. Pours an inky, opaque black with a mocha-colored froth that disperses towards the edges into a thin tight band, leaving an oily residue across the surface. Nose expresses roasted notes and dark chocolate, as well as the merest hint of vanilla. Taste consistent with nose - quite nice. A true RIS - roasty, chocolatey and earthy with a slight char that lingers betweens quaffs. Mouthfeel is light-medium on body (but closer to light) with a mild, even carbonation. All and all, a wonderful example of the style. This beer stands on its own. No barrel-aging necessary.

 650 characters

Photo of samEBC
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of aztraz
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Daniellobo
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of xnicknj
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into taster - thanks rob

Pours a viscous blackness with a faint, bubbled dark head on top. Fades out completely into a thin collar of lacing.

Nose with dark chocolate, molasses, booze and vanilla. Hints of dark fruit with roasty malts and sweetness.

Full, robust chocolate and molasses sweetness up front. Touches of raisin and date with a heavy, almost earthy backbone. A bit sweet, but fairly balanced with the malt and chocolate. Finishes boozy with cocoa and dark warmth.

Full body, decent carbonation, creamy and smooth on the tongue. This was my first experience with The Kernel Brewery and I'm definitely excited to try more.

 658 characters

Photo of papat444
4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Ruds for this one.

Poured from a 330ml. bottle, BB 11.11.18. ABV is 9.8%.

Appearance: Pours an oily brown body that is unaffected by light and has a decent milky coffee head but not a lot of legs on it.

Smell: Fantastic. Want more? Macadamia nuts, milk chocolate, robust coffee (think grinds) and pistachios. The coffee and chocolate keep popping up one after the other seamlessly.

Taste: My, this is good. Mix of nuts, robust coffee with a healthy dose of cream & sugar, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa. Has a nice milky taste with some sweetness that is well balanced. My only knock is it loses a little as it goes on.

Mouthfeel: Real low carbonation coupled with a smooth feel that has some bite but is never harsh. Coast the mouth all over.

Overall: This beer is phenomenal. Sublime yet assertive. Wish i had a case of these. While you could age it, this is real good right now. One of my best in recent memory.

 934 characters

Photo of jrenihan
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Marius
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle. Pitch black pour with a thin tan head. Smells like dark cherries, cocoa, chocolate and roasted malts. The taste follows the same notes, with an addition of both brewed as well as roasted coffee. Medium to full bodied, soft carbonation and a roasty bitter-sweet finish.

 281 characters

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Imperial Brown Stout London 1856 from The Kernel Brewery
4.23 out of 5 based on 95 ratings.
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