Ralphius | Free Will Brewing Co.

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155 Ratings

Brewed by:
Free Will Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 16.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A deep, rich, multilayered beer with notes of Baker’s chocolate, warm vanilla, caramel, dark, jammy fruits, and a hint of anise, with the undertones of smooth bourbon in the finish. A lush, velvety, full mouthfeel is supported by tannins from the oak barrel. Aged 1 year.

Added by jp312 on 10-05-2013

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 155 |  Reviews: 36
Reviews by DLSheidy:
Photo of DLSheidy
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of scottbrew4u
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer served from tap a jet black color, opaque and thick looking with a beautiful frothy tan head piled on top. Smell of vanilla, bourbon, light wood, dark cherries, burnt and complex barley malt profile. Taste was outstanding layers of lush malted barley, dark cherries and light not too boozy bourbon flavors and splashes of vanilla and wood with a full almost chewy body. A big beer indeed and it actually does not come off as a 14%+ alcohol beer but be warned it catches up with you. An awesome sipper!!

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Photo of SHerninko
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

*UPDATE--had a growler from the brewery. My hunch was correct, this is world-class level.
Enjoyed a small pint pour from tap @ Blue Dog Chalfont. Thanks Chris--world class brews.

I was stoked to try since it's a local brew, a stout and aged in Pappy. The magic of Pappy barrels continues. Not having the base beer I can't compare but the smooth, velvety texture is there, the malty stout mixing with plenty of bourbon, oak, vanilla, not hot but just right.
Mouth is silky and low carbonation. The only small drawback is it's a bit sweet. The amount of aging time or power of the bourbon takes control a bit.
Not that the bourbon flavors are a bad thing. Far from it. This has characteristics of some world class beers like Dark Lord, Abyss, etc.-- mainly from the raisin flavors. Not as complex but this could be highly sought after with some more tinkering.

Great brew from this brewery. I'll look for more from them in the future!
Look for this!

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Photo of lateralundertow
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Pizzeria Uno, Deptford, NJ.
A - Dark, dark beer with a quarter inch of creamy 1/4 inch head that settled to a fine layer as it warmed
S - Berries, cherry, vanilla, bourbon, dates, fig
T - Dried fruit, more cherry, vanilla, oaky
M - Terrific, thick, viscous but not oily. Great level of carbonation v viscosity.
O - Really surprised with the amount of fruit flavor this stout contains. It is not overly sweet, cloying, or sugary tasting or in its mouthfeel, how some adjunct barrel aged stouts can be. Ralphius can compete with some of the big names in the stout vein.

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Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

A ridiculously huge beer. Sweet sugars, roasted stout character, and fine Bourbon notes abound. Hitting just above 15% abv even a 12oz bottle you'll want to share with more than none friend unless you are looking for a serious nightcap. Free Will Brewing Co. goes all out with this one but still makes it approachable to a spirits drinker ... the beer geek will be easily pleased here. Oozes of Imperial Stout talk, booze and wood barrel overtones, and ends a bit sweet ... a real treat.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of whatname
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Free Will Brewing Co. "Ralphius"
on tap at the brewery, 9 April 2016

Notes: Typical Imperial stout appearance. Very good head retention, limited spotty lacing. Aroma of soft chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, soft roastiness, char, almost burnt sugar, oak. The flavor follows with more cocoa, nuttiness, hints of vanilla, passing notes of coconut, sweet roast, and more woody oak. It's a pretty solid beer, full bodied but with enough carbonation to liven it and keep it from becoming syrupy. It's sweetish, but also dry in the finish with alcohol, minor roastiness, and bitterness. Pretty impressive, it's so big that it holds me back, yet I want more - normally I might suggest this as a quite sipper before bed while reading but I honestly think it might be too distracting. Bombastic yet refined in some way, is that possible? Worth seeking out.

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Photo of citizencane
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks solid dark with decent head for being poured in 1oz glass.

Smells ok though a bit rough and woody and boozy on the end.

Taste is where this thing gets going. Creamy sweet bourbon and oak notes along with dark chocolate and coffe cream stout notes.

Mouthfeel: exceptional here as well. No more of excessive booziness or dryness. Well-balanced.

Overall: I'm picky about barrel-aged beers. This is the second exceptional offering in this realm by Free Will, among other very good beers of theirs. Whatever they're doing, they need to keep doing it.

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Photo of Troegman
4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am a bourbon barrel fan and this years Ralphius is one of the best bourbon barrel stouts I've ever tried. Did a side by side with KBS. No need to wait in lines anymore.

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Photo of grahuba
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bdel34
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.74/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. Inky black with a small khaki head. Smells of chocolate, oak, and booze. Whiskey isn't that pronounced. The bourbon that was faint in the aroma is intense in the taste. Chocolate. Oak. Vanilla and a lot of sweetness. Heavy with low carbonation. It's just the right side of too boozy.

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Photo of sjones5045
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

1/27/17 home

Pours thick black like oil. Thin tan head but expected from such a big stout.

The smell is boubon with vanilla and a bit sweet malt with a bit tart cherry.

The taste is really impressive. All the flavor comes out at different stages. Chocolate, vanilla, hints of cherry. Not too sweet and very well balanced.

Very smooth and extremely easy to drink for a huge 15.1%. Not a huge burn but it there. Again a very impressive to be this smooth for a 15.1

Overall very impressed. Loved this stout. Great winter sipper after dinner.

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Photo of robgage
3.81/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of waddellc2
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Rizzy17
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at The Fridge served in a tasting glass.

A: Super dark with a nice dark brown head.
S: Molasses and licorice on the nose.
T: Molasses and licorice comes through on the taste as well. Slightly roasty.
F: Smooth and creamy. Has some slight boozy heat that's not overbearing. Super drinkable for such high ABV!
O: Really impressed with this. I was not expecting such an enjoyable imperial stout out of this, but Free Will continually impresses me.

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Photo of Bung
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rjp217
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of buzzy
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Greywulfken
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like thick black motor oil on the pour, kicking off aromas of rich dark roasted chocolaty malts and bourbon barrels. Taste has an appropriate chocolate malt and bourbon character - some vanilla, some molasses, hints of oak, and suggestions of sweet black coffee. Doesn't go too far with the sweetness, which I appreciate. Feel is real nice - the body is not compromised by the barrel-aging, and has a smooth, full feel. A real nice bourbon barrel Russian imperial with a big 15.1% abv...

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Photo of Stofko1992
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of IdrinkGas
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of salthemonster
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of GDawgs34
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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Ralphius from Free Will Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 155 ratings