Carton Brewing Company

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #130
Ranked #2,559
4.36 | pDev: 7.34%
Carton Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States
Notes: "Neapolitan Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Cognac Barrels with Walnuts and Maraschino cherries: 10% | IBU: 24 | SRM: 42

The first stride along this path was enough Super Galena in the middle of the boil leading a strawberry hop tone in vanilla and chocolate malt notes creating a Russian Imperial Stout with a different gait. The move to “let’s throw some Neapolitan ice cream in there and see what happens” isn’t a giant leap. Going from a big bold stout with chocolate vanilla and strawberry freeze dried ice cream to “brandied walnuts and a cherry on top right?” is actually a small step. Sundae is Cosmonaut put down in cognac barrels with maraschino cherries and walnuts for a year. Drink Sundae cause this one’s for you, Mr. Gorsky."
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 49 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of larryi86
larryi86 from Delaware

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

Thank you TheGent for this
12 oz can poured into a snifter

A- Black with a two finger mocha head.

S- Cherries, roasted malts, cognac, chocolate, some walnuts, oak.

T- Dark chocolate, roasted malts, cognac, oak, some strawberries and vanilla, touch of cherries and walnuts.

M- Smooth, full body.

O- Cognac is pretty big in this along with the stout base. I have been enjoying a few different Neapolitan stouts and this falls short of a lot of the others with delivering those ice cream flavors. The starting stout seems to be more bitter being a Russian Imperial Stout and I feel more of the ice cream flavors could have done better with a sweeter stout base.

Aug 19, 2020
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can from early June, poured into Aslin anniversary glass and allowed to warm.

L: 1F or so light tan head with good retention, leaving lots of tan lacing and a cap and ring. Beer is pitch black.

S: A pretty good amount of cognac barrel with sour cherries coming through. Only faint whiffs of the sweetened base Cosmonaut stout.

T: Impressed by the transformation. You definitely get a good dose of the cognac bottle and the sour cherries and nuttiness really come through. The sweetness of Cosmonaut is almost gone, maybe erased too much. Not too much of the booze at the end, but you notice it.

F: Full-bodied. Slight carbonation. Construction is very good, but personally I think they overrode too much of the Cosmonaut and it's a little bit out of balance.

O: It's innovative and pretty good.

Jun 30, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.96/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade. Canned quite awhile ago. We'll see how this pans out.

Poured into Crane snifter.

Deep black pour with a beige-brown ring of head about 1/2 finger tall.

Aromas are of chocolate and roast notes; and I get some of the marachino cherry as well. Some faint deep red wine notes.

Flavor starts off with a bitter roast char and slight piney/earthy hop, but then gains complexity as it swerves into hot fudge, marachino cherry, slight vanilla, slight strawberry, and some faint red wine, but what remains strongest is the piney hop just blasting through the whole profile.

Feel is tannic and clinging, with a biting carbonation to match. Medium-heavy body.

Overall, not really that impressed. I think if I'd had gotten a fresher can maybe these flavors wouldn't have fallen off so much.

Sep 02, 2018
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Perhaps the use of freeze dried ice cream wasn't enough to make brewers of Carton happy. So they take their Cosmonaut imperial stout and lay it down in a time capsule of cognac with marachino cherries to absorb all of that spicy, fruity, tangy and sweet wisdom into the stout for a taste that can only be described as sundae.

Jet black and layered with a solid brown froth, the ominous looking Sundae hits the nose with all things roasty, toasty and full of char. A spicy fortified wine tingle and wood spice come in quickly with the character of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla taking a backseat in scent. Carbonized sweetness carries a dry molasses, toffee and chocolate sweetness onto the tongue along with an inordinate amount of roast.

As the stout marches across the middle palate, it sheds the bulk of its sweetness and highlights the sharp roast, burnt toast, smoked chocolate, walnut and strong char. Any softer vanilla, cherry, strawberry, or milk chocolate flavors are subtle and only come through after the piquant spice of cognac, oak and toasted nuttiness begins to subside deep into the late palate. Bitter and a light acrid roast does much more than balance the sundae sweetness.

Full bodied on the palate overall, the sharpness and ash-like state of the beer links up with boozy spice for a drying sensation that would suggest a lighter body. Laced with bitter baker's chocolate and a campfire whimsy, the aftertaste is long, stubborn and prickly with vinous spice.

May 29, 2018
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Canned 3/22/18; drank 5/17/18 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance; champagne bubbles throughout.

A violent pour yielded a HUGE dark tan head; strong lace.

Fresh earth & faint strawberry notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Fresh earth, mild caramel & faint strawberry flavors; no booze heat.

Thin & mild for the style; far from offensive but hardly worth the effort.

May 18, 2018
Photo of Claude-Irishman
Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks jet black, smell like maraschino cherries,chocolate,vanilla,berries. Taste is right on the nose. This is way better than Cosmonaut which was outstanding. Taste is like an ice cream sundae. But not too sweet. Feels like a perfect consistency, not too viscous or chewy. Overall this is a fun beer and brings back childhood memories of (Neapolitan ice cream , not beer.

May 09, 2018
Photo of Jsalz21
Jsalz21 from New Jersey

4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Totally shocked to have been able to pick some up off a shelf that wasn't literally at the brewery. Anyways, canned 3/22/2018 nad poured into a snifter...

Pours a dark khaki/brown head and opaque black. Fittingly enough, almost like chocolate whipped cream in appearance.

Incredibly multifaceted nose. Dark fruit, sweet fruit and spirits notes. A little bit a chocolate and maybe sasparilla once it reaches room temp. It's very fragrant and captures a litany of aromas that lead into the tasting.

Very sweet cherry notes, dark malt and dark fruit, blended vanilla and chocolate and a dash of brandy, or at least what I interpret as brandy. Super delicious.

It's hard not to mistake this beer for one of lower abv, but at the same time it clearly is. It's very boozy feeling but is also a bit cloying in a good way. The cognac barrels have not made it feel all that tannic which is strange, but regardless it is pure fun drinking.

Might be my favorite Carton beer, but in regards to what Carton does, this one is only slightly off the beaten craft. A off-kilter spirit-barreled RIS is something I feel like I could expect from other breweries to a certain extent. I wouldn't however, expect them to be this good.

May 05, 2018
Photo of VoxRationis
VoxRationis from New York

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served in a glass in the Carton Brewery tasting room in Atlantic Heights, NJ, then retasted from a 12 oz (355 ml) can, produced on 03/22/2018, poured into a snifter glass at home.
A: Pours a very dark brown to black color with a full one inch, light brown head with moderate head retention and substantial lacing.
S: Smells like a chocolate malted. Cognac, coffee, raisin, and vanilla bean notes all present.
T: Sweet and delicious. Tastes very much like a chocolate soda. Palate follows the nose with light to moderate bitterness contributing to the overall composition.
M: Medium bodied with excellent, persistent carbonation. Creamy and smooth.
O: A delicious, Russian Imperial Stout. Will come back again and again.

Apr 15, 2018
Photo of Act25
Act25 from New Jersey

4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Carton tonight. Perfect for Easter weekend last beer of evening.
a) It pours a deep thick black with a firm tan head. Rings and laces nicely.
s) Nice. Cognac, strawberry, vanilla, leather, anise, chocolate, a bit of char to balance.
t) I find the oak and cognac first. Then it's a solid imperial with chocolate and strawberry, never too sweet, never cloying. Always complex. Lots of other complex nuances like wood smoke and licorice.
F) thick, mid weight, good mouth feel and body for heft and complexity. Finishes clean.
o) I suppose RIS with flavors becoming a core treat at Carton. As good as any RIS.

Apr 01, 2018
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at EBF in Boston, MA.

This one smells like chocolate ice cream, cherry, strawberry, cognac, nuttiness, caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla beans.

This is delightful. Like most Carton beers it's almost confusingly complex. It really does feel like a boozy Neapolitan-style sundae, with both cherry and strawberry (mostly strawberry), lots of chocolate, and lots of creamy vanilla flavor. There's a complex nuttiness that's reminiscent of both hazelnut and walnut. There's not much cognac- there's just a sliver.

This is medium bodied, creamy and rich, with a good level of carbonation for the style.

This is a very fun beer. It evokes the dessert it's trying to emulate nearly perfectly.

Feb 08, 2018
Photo of Phineasco
Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pitch Black with no head. Has low carbonation.
Smell: Vanilla ice cream, smoke, molasses, and cognac.
Taste: Vanilla ice cream, smoke, molasses, tobacco, with a little cognac on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Thin.
Overall: An interesting stout, but didn’t get the adjuncts.

Feb 04, 2018
Photo of SammyJaxxxx
SammyJaxxxx from New Jersey

4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a deep thick black with a slight mahogany head. Dissipates to a thin ring around the glass. Lacing on all sides
S: Cognac, leather, anise, chocolate
T: up front is the cognac. At first it seems overbearing but soon melds with other flavors.
The walnuts and the sweetness taste like we're walnuts on a sundae. There is chocolate and berry. There are hints of licorice and Marshmallow
MF:thick and almost syrupy but in a good way. No noticeable alcohol burn.
O: This beer is a ice-cream sundae beer with a pour of cognac. There is a decadence to this beer that is simply wonderful.

Nov 06, 2017
Photo of Slack
Slack from Virginia

4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz
$20/4 iirc

Deep brown to brown on the edges and clear with little remaining head and minor lacing.

Nose is boozy, cherries, walnuts, and sweetness.

Taste is sweet cherries, dark fruit, barrel, malt, a bit of coffee, nuts in the background, and a light cognac finish.

Body is medium and even and smooth. Carbonation is low. Finish is sweet.

Hardly a RIS with a lack of hops but the take that away and you get a nice cognac barrel stout that is very fruit forward with a nice nuttiness. If you like sweet fruit stouts, this will be your jam, if not I would share or avoid.

Jul 29, 2017
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michaelbritten from New Jersey

4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Walnuts-in-syrup envelop a chocolate-malted fountain soda that stabs-strawberry; generously-topped, sugar-soaked waffles and ice cream at the Jersey shore. This captures a very specific summertime overindulgence: slick, sweet, and three-scoops-to-the-wind.

May 04, 2017
Photo of MacMalt
MacMalt from New Jersey

4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased two days after release. Poured into tulip glass. It pours a rich, deep walnut with a fluffy, khaki-colored head and generous lacing. It features a nice aroma dark roasted malt, chocolate, burnt coffee, peat, tobacco smoke, and dark cherry. The maraschino cherry dominates the initial sip followed by rich, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. While I didn't taste it initially, as the glass warmed I began to pick up the walnut and cognac. I like the fact that the cognac is delicate and doesn't overwhelm the other flavors. It's really very good and improves as the glass warms. Like the base Cosmonaut, it doesn't have a heavy feel. It drinks more like a porter than a stout (which is generally the case with Carton offerings). It has a pleasant level of carbonation and the taste is so good that you don't really notice the 10% ABV. When Cosmonaut was released, I thought it was a fun idea to use freeze dried ice cream as a proxy for dark fruit. Sundae takes it to another level of enjoyment. It is an absolute delight to drink!

Apr 30, 2017
Sundae from Carton Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 49 ratings