Jolly Russian | Odell Brewing Company

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Jolly RussianJolly Russian
Jolly RussianJolly Russian

Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bridging the Baltic and Caribbean Seas, Jolly Russian is a rich Russian Imperial Stout stowed away in Rum Barrels for aging. Dark as night and thick as the raging sea, this brew boasts notes of coffee and cocoa with waves of oak, spiced molasses, dried fruit and vanilla from the planks. It’s dangerously delicious!

Also known as Russian Pirate.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 266
Photo of Franziskaner
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black in color with no penetration to the light. There’s a fingernail of brown around the rim and covering most of the top. The aroma is of light rum, plums, and black malt. I’m tasting a burst of light rum, plums, figs, black malt, and a bit of booze. The mouth is sticky, chewy, and warm with alcohol.

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Photo of colts9016
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I was perusing the liquor store and saw this beer. I have never even heard of this beer. I am a huge Russian Imperial Stout what could better, rum barrel aging. I served the beer in a tulip glass at 50 degrees. A har pour on the beer produced a medium tan head with disappointing results. The head dissipated fairly quickly leaving nothing behind. The head was an airy, creamy and foamy from what I surmised. The head settled to a thin ring and foamy Lilly Pad like substance on the top of the beer. The color of the beer is SRM 37 a dark brown to inky black. The beer is opaque and mysterious.

I first smell rum and dark roasted malts. Next, I get anise, char, burnt sugar, herbal, orange, wood, caramel, toffee, molasses, earthiness, bready, vanilla, and dried stone fruit (cherries and plums).

I initially get smokiness with a touch of Mailliard, dark roasted malts, and rum. Next, I taste, toffee, caramel, dried cherries, plums, molasses, earthiness, vanilla, soy sauce, wood, oranges, bready, and burnt sugar.

The mouthfeel of the beer is thick and dry.

The body of the beer is full, medium carbonation, and full finish.

Sadly, I am going to pick this beer apart. I wanted to see more of the rum barrel aging come through in the beer. The rum flavors are there, but I got more dark roasted malt flavor. The dark roasted malts they made this beer with has this char/fire taste that gives off Maillard. I am not a fan of the Maillard in my beer it is noticeable but not strong. I think for a Russian Imperial Stout the body of the beer needs to be thicker in my opinion. As the beer warmed up, the flavors did become more pronounced. The beer is good but far from being awesome.

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Photo of ZAP
3.23/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Didn't realize this was barrel aged until I poured it and the aroma immediately announced its arrival.

Rich aroma of molasses, vanilla, port, and nougat.

Taste is not as assertive as expected but includes soy sauce, port, vanilla, caramel, some roasty notes and just a hint of char.

Body is not immense when compared to say Ten Fiddy Barrel Aged. Not as luscious either. It's probably average for the style.

A bit too much soy sauce to this the more I drink it. It's middle of the road for the style.

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Photo of OsoRojo
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed in a tulip at 50°
Nice well-balanced beer, somewhat unbelievable that this is a 13% ABV because it is so exceptionally smooth. Nice sweetness on the rum barrel finish. Another winner from Odell Brewing, you should get one if you can.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.38/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

$ 9.87 (Including shipping)/12 oz bottle ($ 0.822) from Tavour, Seattle, WA. Reviewed 12/13/18.
“Bottled 2018” on label, stored at 42 degrees and served at 58 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. Final temperature 61 degrees.
Appearance – 4.5.
Body – Dark brown/black, opaque. When held to the light, minimal penetration occurs at the ring.
Head – Average (Maximum 2.5 cm, controlled center pour), tan, high density, initially fizzy but rapidly settles, average duration, diminishing to a three mm ring and a thin complete layer with a rocky island.
Lacing – None. As expected for a 13% ABV brew.
First pour – Medium brown, clear.
Aroma – 4 – Initially, roasted malt and char. Continued horning brings out rum.
Flavor – 3 – Really not much flavor – some weak roastiness with more complex alcohols showing up in the nasal backwash. The other expected flavors from a RIS (Chocolate, coffee, char, maybe dark fruit) are conspicuous by their absence. No hops, no ethanol (13% ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 – Medium, almost creamy, dry.
Impression and interpretation – 3 - Well, OK, I tried it. IMHO, this is very lacking in flavor and complexity. Definitely not worth the price. Two and done.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Jet black with rich foamy head and nice lacing.
N: Rum, malt, sugar, smoke, and vanilla.
T: Follows the nose, really smooth rum notes with a blend of sugar, smoke and vanilla.
M: Full
O: Outstanding, I am not a major fan of Rum beers, this is a kick ass beer.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Bottled 2018. Towering light brown head leaves thick foam on the glass as it slowly fades atop a pitch black body - perfect appearance. Sweet aroma of rum, caramel, vanilla, oak, and raisin. Flavors are a complex mix of dark chocolate, boozy rum, vanilla, caramel, toasted coconut, toffee, raisin, woody oak, and earthy hops. Full body, sticky & sweet, booze is warming, sweet finish. Great beer - I like the rum barrel usage for a change-up from the more traditional bourbon barrel used by most breweries. Glad I pulled the trigger on buying this one - it was worth it!

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. '2018' bottling date.
Black colored body, with the tiniest of dark brown highlights when back lit. Half finger of tan head slowed eases back to creamy cap and ring. Each sip leaves behind a sheet of lacing but most of this slides back down into the beer.
Aroma of dark roasted malts and rich, acrid rum.
Taste is very much like the aroma with dark roasted malts, chocolate, and the rum barrel. More sweet than any char or bitterness. Includes notes of vanilla, dark fruit (raisins and currants), and a semblance of molasses.
Medium mouth feel, with some creamy mouth coat. Okay carbonation.
A very rich stout with the rum barrel inclusions. Quite complex, and as with most rum barrels, has more sweetness from the cane. High ABV% is well hidden from the mouth feel and taste. The taste profile seems to cascade across the palate with each sip.

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Photo of matcris
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOOKS: A very dark brown, with a small tan head, and great looking carbonation when I rock the glass. Legs down the glass.
AROMA: Rum, cocoa, mocha, coffee, and dark dried fruit.
TASTE: Nice! All the notes from above, and a woody vanilla, as well. Definitely leather and tobacco, too.
FEEL: Full, and full carbonation. Sticky.
OA: Spendy, but first class stuff.

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Photo of puck1225
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it from draft into a snifter. Beautiful dark brown with nice beige head and lacing. Oak wood and raisin smell and taste. Dark chocolate and a bit of coffee, sweet molasses. All flavors are well integrated and not heavy.

This is an imperial stout that can almost be described as refreshing, not boozy or overly sweet. Great beer, reminds me of Narwhal.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This one pours a very dark black color, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells a touch fusel, with bitter malt, boozy rum, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coconut.

Underneath the boozy and fusel astringency, there's some good stuff here. There's some vanilla, spice, and coconut, and lots of dark chocolate. The booziness kind of flattens this out, though, unfortunately.

This is medium bodied, and a touch thin, with a very slow sippin' feel, and a touch of creaminess.

This feels a little bit sloppy. I think the rum barrels used weren't quite right.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a tulip. 2018 series.

Pours black with a tiny head and little carbonation. Smell is booze, chocolate, molasses.

Taste is hot, rummy, chocolate and molasses for sure, but also some anise and coffee. Rum is a bit much.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Overall, it's good.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense finger of tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of chocolate and coffee with some rum barrel notes along with a hint of roasted malts
T: Taste is chocolate, molasses, spices, coffee, roasted malts, vanilla and oak. Swallow is more oak, molasses, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and roasted malts with some lingering oak.
M: This beer is full bodied and slightly silky on the palate. Carbonation is low but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: This beer rocks the house. Great flavors and complexity make this one a real pleasure to drink. The base beer and the rum barrels complement each other well and this one is definitely not overdoing the barrel influence. Definitely worth a try if you can find it.

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Photo of darktronica
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm a sucker for rum barrels, so spotting this at a bottle shop near a work conference was a nice find. Pours with minimal head but good retention. Plenty of rum, vanilla, and cocoa on the nose that draws me in. More subtle on the palate, with more muted flavors from the nose accompanied by floral hops, a bit of botanical bitterness, and maybe a suggestion of iodine. Silky smooth, so much that it initially feels thinner than it actually is--neat.

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Photo of Prager62
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A twelve ounce bottle from Matt at Longhorn Liquors in Estes Park. I can't read the date but it was released in the fall of 2016. Pouring in a Odell tulip.

Look- Pours a dark brown with a slight Ruby tint yielding a few centimeters of light tan foam. A little lacing is left behind.

Smell- Sweet slightly spiced rum and wood. A little dark fruit and tobacco emerge as well.

Taste- Slightly sweet rum followed by some heavy oak. Raisins, figs, tobacco and leather pop out as it warms.

Feel- Medium thick, creamy and dangerously drinkable considering the abv.

Overall- Just short of world class, it is a very solid rum barrel aged beer. The rum isn't overpowering perhaps because of the heavy oak presence? Whatever the case, this is worth checking out.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter
From: Bier:Thirty Bottle & Bistro in Boise, Idaho
Price: $9.99
Purchased: April 21, 2017
Consumed: May 19, 2017
Reviewed as: Russian Imperial Stout
Misc.: 2016 release

Picked this up with four others at Bier:Thirty on a recent work trip to Boise after getting a random 6-pack of cans earlier at Whole Foods. Had heard of this one, but had never seen it. Was intrigued about a Russian Imperial Stout aged in rum barrels. Was looking forward to it.

Poured a black color with two fingers of frothy tan head. Serene setting underneath. Excellent spotty lacing. World-class retention. (Sight - 4.50)

Smell was fighting to get out initially. When it settled, got molasses, coffee, dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, spicy rum, toasted sugar, cocoa powder and toffee. Was worried going in that the rum would be too much but it’s almost perfect here. (Smell - 4.50)

Taste had parts that were different than the nose. Got coconut, molasses, spicy rum barrel, oak, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, dark chocolate, mulling spice, raisins, toasted sugary toffee and plum. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, boozy, warming finish. (Feel - 4,25)

This was really good overall, especially for a rum barrel beer. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 4.25)

4.33 | 96 | A

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Photo of Wasatch
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle

Pours a pretty nice dark brown color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, chocolate/toffee, rum, vanilla. The taste is malty, with some chocolate/toffee, nice rum note, vanilla. Full Body, ABV hidden very well, a nice complex brew. Overall, a very tasty brew. Recommended.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Prefunk Nampa ID.

Opaque and menacingly dark body with lots of tan head lacing left on the glass. Oaky rum and vanilla on the nose, more warmth and cocoa on the flavors combined with the rummy oak. Big body but finishes very dry to me.

Overall a good beer but not my cup of tea as far as big BA imperial stouts.

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Photo of strohme2
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aggressive pour on a rich, just about black, oily looking beer. Small 1/4" head that fades fast. The nose is molasses, licorice, caraway seed and raisins. Taste is roast, molasses, some spice, dark fruits and rum without the heat. I guess that is spice, sugar cane, etc. Big chewy mouthfeel, Slightly cloying finish.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the darkest of brown, just short of black with a small reddish brown head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is molasses, dark fruits and rum. The flavor is more of the same with a creamy texture with just the right amount of carbonation. Odell hit a home run with this one.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Bangers in Austin. 4.25

A - 4

S - Brown sugar with a bit of spirits - beautiful 4.5

T - Slightly sweet balanced by the alcohol, but the rum is not over done; an acceptable level of barrel aging. 4.25

MF - Smooth, medium body 4.25

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Photo of grover37
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into balloon tulips with Lisa. Doesn't taste much different than a well made imperial stout. A small touch of the rum on the back end, but this one is lacking overall.

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Photo of FBarber
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark shiny brown bordering on black. Completely opaque to light. Fizzy tannish brown head dissipates leaving no residual head but some minor sticky tan lacing on the glass.

Smell has notes of smoked and roasted malts, some molasses, burnt sugars and some oak.

Taste has those notes of roasted/smoked malts, some smoked meat like flavors, not very sweet although you do get some sweet molasses com gin through. Dark fruits are noted, but are more a general flavor rather than a distinct flavors. Chocolate and cocoa come through here with some nice vanilla and oak notes as well. Not much in the way of a spice or rum flavor though - I was hoping that would shine through more, but it just doesn't. Some bittering hops are noted on the back end.

Feel is a bit rough, not really smooth, but not because its poorly crafted, its just a robust stout. Actually its nice that the barrel didn't overtake the underlying feel of the stout. Provides a warming sensation with some definite alcohol heat. Mild to medium carbonation. Relatively full bodied for a barrel aged stout.

Overall this is a dangerously drinkable imperial stout. Other than some heat, you can easily down this quickly which is dangerous. Severely disappointed in the lack of rum barrel character. It has some minor barrel character, but nothing that distinguishes it from any other barrel aged beer. Really enjoyed having it, but I think it needed more time in the rum barrels.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice dark brown black beer with a mocha head that leaves nice lacing
S - big chocolate, roast, burnt marshmallow, vanilla, coconut. Not as much in the way of rum or wood barrel.
T - big chocolate syrup, little bit of dark rum flavor, think kahlua especial, roasty malts, burnt marshmallow, vanilla, coconut.
M - thick mouthfeel, alc present but appropriate, aftertaste is roasty malts, vanilla, chocolate
O - good beer. Nothing too amazing. But good.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Fun pirate-themed label art. Branded pry-off crown cap.

13.3% ABV (whoa!). "Russian imperial stout aged in rum barrels."

Served chilled into a Guinness goblet and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Khaki-tan in colour. Creamy and soft in appearance, with a nice even robust consistency. ~1-2cm in height, retaining for a good 4-5 minutes (not too shabby given the beer's monstrous 13.3% ABV).

BODY: One expects an opaque ink-black body colour in beers of this style and that's exactly what this offers. True to style. No yeast/lees are visible.

It's a nice look for an imperial stout, though not unique or special. Lacks the shining complexion of the best looking imperial stouts as well as a rich dark tan head colour.

AROMA: Definitely more of a Russian imperial stout than an American imperial stout, going big on notes of burnt sugars and charred malts, along with noticeable roast tempered by fudgy chocolate notes and cream. The rum isn't particularly vivid or evocative aromatically, but I do get a subdued hint of vanilla/vanillin. No spice or coconut, but there is some dark fruit in play. No overt oak, unfortunately.

What does impress is the absence of any booze whatsoever; this seems dangerously approachable for a brew with such a huge ABV.

While more muted than would be ideal, this does offer the dark fruit and burnt malt character observed in some of the best American stabs at the style. I'd compare this aroma to Victory's Storm King, only it lacks the hop aromatics. None of the coffee, cocoa, or spiced molasses promised on the label is present aromatically, and the absence of overt rum barrel notes makes one wonder if they aged it long enough...

TASTE & TEXTURE: Creamy and soft from the get go, easing the drinker into the creamy milk chocolate/fudge notes with an approachable smooth, wet mouthfeel and a medium body.

Gooey dark fruit set against the backdrop of robust dark malts keeps this Russian imperial stout feeling a bit dessert-like, but the roast and burnt/charred malt bitterness need to be cranked up to counter the sweetness of the malts.

The rum barrel offers hints of sugarcane and barrel-derived vanillin, but no rich white oak or toasted coconut.

Definitely a dessert beer given those big notes of sweet fudge, but it's not cloying or saccharine, and I don't find it a chore to drink even as I get halfway into the bottle.

The dark fruit plays well with the fudge, and the two flavours together form the heart of this beer. Forget the rum barrel, which is weak and muted, and forget the label's empty promises of coffee, spiced molasses, and oak - this is a straightforward Russian imperial stout and a pretty well executed one at that, even if its flavour profile bends a bit classic for what many discerning drinkers will expect in a barrel aged brew.

True, there's room for further intricacy and subtlety; the dark fruits could be better and more vividly defined (can anyone pick out exactly what's there? I can't separate fig from plum from prune from date), and coffee, cacao, vanilla, et al. wouldn't hurt in terms of ramping up its complexity. But I'm glad this doesn't have a boozy Captain Morgan's spiced rum character; that would ruin it.

It's more balanced than a 13.3% ABV brew has a right to be, and that dangerously disguised alcohol content is to be feared.

I guess my biggest gripe is the relative lack of depth of flavour; this is something of a shallow effort.

OVERALL: Discerning drinkers will find it a bit simplistic, not only for a barrel aged expression of the style but also in comparison to the myriad non-barrel-aged examples out there. This is a solid classic Russian imperial stout build, but doesn't deliver on the rum barrel premise in any real way. Tasty and well-executed as it is in spite of its shortcomings, I'd be hard pressed to buy another bottle of this over, say, Victory Storm King or North Coast Old Rasputin (even if it might be better).

The creamy silky soft mouthfeel's harmony with the gooey dark fruits and succulent fudge alone makes this beer well worth buying once. I don't know that this delivers on Odell's aims, and with Avery down the road cranking out their rum barrel brews Odell will have to up their game to compete, but I was pleasantly surprised by this ale and it's a welcome addition to the lineup of one of Colorado's finest breweries.

B (3.68) / GOOD

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Jolly Russian from Odell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 266 ratings