Boris | Alpine Beer Company

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70 Ratings

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 58
Reviews by BeerTruth:
Photo of BeerTruth
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this one for a while, let's give it a whirl.

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic.

Pours a pure opaque black with a two finger dark brown head which quickly falls to almost nothing. Pretty unimpressed with the lacing, especially for the style. Smell is a bit one dimensional with chocolate paste, spent coffee grinds, and bitter hops. There really isn't much else in the nose, disappointed so far with this one. Whoa, the first taste I get is day old coffee that the stupid intern forgot to empty out from the pot. A weird woodsy/nutty/sour flavor midway with burned malts and dirt...uhhh. Aftertaste is dry with bland cocoa powder and some oak, wow...not sure what's going on with this beer. Body is pretty thin for the style with a stinging carbonation and scratchy feel in the mouth. I had high hopes for this one, but was really let down, not sure if I got a bad bottle or if this beer just sucks but I can't finish this bomber. What a waste of money...fuck.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of badbeer
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black with a good, long-lasting tan head that leaves a spotty lacing. Smell of old burnt coffee, maybe a little chocolate, and some wood. Taste is of old coffee, roast, bitter chocolate, vanilla, and a metallic flavor too. Mouthfeel is thin with high carbonation.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, black pour with a thick tan head. Coffee and roasted chocolate in the nose with a fair amount of wood. Massive taste that is somewhat unbalanced. Tons of coffee, malt, and chocolate, along with a strong oak and bourbon flavors. The soy sauce taste pops up frequently, but not enough to spoil the beer. Some vanilla and smoke as well. It needs to be a bit sweeter to balance out the massive coffee bitterness.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.9/5  rDev +38.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a jet black color, with a thin brown head. The head fades slowly, leaving a good lacing.

This beer has a massive and complex aroma. I detect some bourbon. Also some coffee. Chocolate and dark fruit mix in. Figs and prunes mostly. It also has an oaky woody aroma. Also, coffee makes an appearance. This is one complex beer.

This beer tastes like it smells. Complex. I taste, in no particular order, bourban, coffee, chocolate, figs, prunes, and oak.

This beer is very full bodied. It goes down surprisingly smooth, leaving a coffee and bourbon aftertaste. It is carbonated to perfection.

This beer might not be the best session beer. It tastes great, but it might be a little aggressive. Also, the alcohol content is a bit high.

Overall: This is a great beer. It makrs my 500th beer review on this site. I couldnt have picked a better beer. I love everything I have ever had from Alpine, and this is no exception. Thanks go to my wife for ordering this for me for Christmas.

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Photo of PretzelCity
4.42/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an excellent dark black into my glass with a very pleasant bourbon smell. As the beer warms up it starts to smell almost citrusy, like grapefruit. Same goes for the taste. Bourbon up front, fruit in the finish. Very smooth and drinkable. Gets sweeter as it goes but overall a good beer.

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Photo of nickd717
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from City Beer Store in SF, review dated 2/1/2009.

Pours black and heavy with a brown head. Coffee, roasted malt, and alcohol on the aroma. Same on the flavor, plus cola and some dark chocolate. Big alcohol bite, slightly unpleasant. A little light on the palate for the style. Pretty enjoyable overall though.

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Photo of russpowell
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to Bitterbill for this one!

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 2 fingers of frothy mocha head. Near zero head retention & lacing, nice viscosity to this though

S: Vanilla, oak, Bourbon & cherries up front, nice sour-mash signature

T: Sour Mash, dryness, & a bit of coffee up front. Coffee, oaky dryness, a touch of cherry sourness & vanilla. Finishes sour with a touch of baker's chocolate, & cherry soaked in oak, this just doesn't jell for me

MF: Actually a bit light bodied for an Imp Stout with a bit too much carbonation

Drinks alright, but doesn't quite pull together; this wasn't in my wheelhouse for the style

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Photo of HalfFull
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich, oily black into a pint glass with a thick and porous mocha colored head. Head settles to a thin well maintained film in a few minutes with light lacing to follow.

The barrel is immediate on the nose, mostly in an oak sense vs. any bourbon scents. Dark chocolate and cocoa with rich notes of cherry liqueur. More rich coffee as the head settles, and a bit of alcohol on the nose later on.

Flavor is malty and chewy with a strong coffee backdrop and offers a bit of dry spice on the close; bitter chocolate and cinnamon.

Rich, full bodied mouth feel and good carbonation allow this to flow rather well for a 10 % brew. Offers a lingering roasted/smoky coffee & chocolate finish. Overall a bit rich in malts and coffee flavors for me, and bourbon barrel hints are subtle players.

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Photo of likestoswallow
4.11/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

650 ml bottle from Bev4less in Santee. Pours an opaque dark brown-black color with a small khaki head that has fair retention.

The aroma is medium in strength and features chocolate, coffee and a touch of whiskey.

The flavor, like the aroma, also has plenty of chocolate and coffee, but there is an acidic quality that materializes and distracts(I speculate that this is because of the wood). Other prominent flavors are biter walnuts, mocha and very light bourbon. The bitterness was also quite distinct--this is perhaps the bitterest bourbon barrel concoction yet.

The mouthfeel is initially light but builds to a full effect. The finish is long with lingering acidic oak.

In conclusion, I believe there are three typical types of bourbon barrel aged beer; those with too much bourbon, those with too little and those with a good balance. This one falls into the second category, there is just barely a trace of the bourbon flavor. Personally I prefer the stronger types. That aside, this one agrees with me from the standpoint of drink-ability, it goes down easy and quickly. This might age well. I say Try it.

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Photo of trodersark
5/5  rDev +41.2%

Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to swnicholson for this 650 mL bomber in Black Booty 2009. Shared with ksak, sierraGS and Deuane.

A: The stout is a dark one, a pitch black moonless night. A small head, with a coffee ice cream color, sat motionless before fizzling away.

S: The coffee aromas dominate the nose, full with a pleasant bitterness. Stout notes of chocolate and burnt toast are also present, but one aspect is missing. I can't find any hint of barrel aging here (this is not my weekend for barrel aged stouts, see Homewood Reserve too).

T: A strong coffee presence hits you upfront, dark and roasted with a hint of lactic sweetness. The stout's burnt malts follow the coffee nicely, adding chocolate and dark breads, along with a hint of dark fruits. Unfortunately, there is no bourbon barrel to be found anywhere. The coffee and stout dominate, at the expense of the bourbon.

M: The mouthfeel of a coffee stout rarely goes wrong and this is no exception. The coffee flavor is full-bodied and rich, carrying the stout especially in the absence of the bourbon.

D: Another whopper at 10%, I'd love to try one that has the bourbon essence intact.

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Photo of FrndthDuvel
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

ok, first review under the new user name. First one of the year. Shared a bomber from Bev 4 Less purchased first week of November, into a Duvel tulip. Beautiful mocha head,one fingered that soon vanished to a ring that lasted almost to the end. One could make out faint hints of mahogany brown in the blackness that let no light through. Barrel first than coffee in the nose and taste. Not being a bourbon or coffee drinker these notes were more than present for me. As it warms a sweeter,and as some have said, a green apple like taste competes with the coffee and barrel. I would have liked a bit thicker mouth feel,might have carried the sweetness a bit more rather than the more acid like fruit highlights. Would I drink more than half a bomber of this at a sitting? Not at this time. But I have one in the cellar and will check back in a year. And might pick up one more only because ALpine is 8 miles from my home. lol

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3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A monstrous four finger head easily reaches the top of my Duvel glass. It is milk chocolate brown in color and turns rocky as it fades which takes about 4 minutes. Body is dilated pupil black and stylishly thick. Nose is wonderful, big and toasty and loaded with coco and zesty toffee and nuts. First sip kind of shocks you a bit with slightly soured dark fruits and a bitter cold coffee kind of feel. I can't believe that this is what they were going for. you do get dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruits that come in layers. This is all a little off though. Where is the signs of barrel aging, oak or bourban. Alcohol is very well hidden though. Sourness really lingers throughout and creates a mouthfeel that is a sour bitter hue. Drinkability is about medium with all its quirks.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ditmier pulled this out at a tasting at his house a couple weeks ago.... This is a looong time want.. Thanks a ton homeboy!!

Dark brown head.... thick and creamy.. nice lace..

Nose is pretty damn good.. dark chocolate and waves of pretty big bourbon... vanilla... coffee is there throughout..

Flavor begins sorta dry with cocoa and then the dark malts move in with some mild sugars.... bourbon essence pulls out some dark cherries and a mild vanilla... a bit of char (or really big coffee) is a off-putting for me, but really isn't that big of a deal in the big scope... finish is sorta sweet with bourbon remnants and some dark malt.

Body seems a bit too carbonated.... still pretty okay.

I think I poisoned the well when Eric pulled this out and I mentioned rumors of bottle infections.... this showed no signs of infections and was really very nice.


Thanks a ton Eric.... Classy brew.. I hope they make more.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Joey for recommending another solid beer for me to try. This one arrived the other day and was quickly chilled and decanted into an oversized wine glass. Consumed on 11/22/2008.

The pour was nice, a rich and very dark brown, nearly black color appeared before me straight away. Nice hints of light peaking in through the sides on an otherwise dark as an abyss pour. Light tan head of maybe a half an inch peaking up through the top and settling down quickly, leaving some light side glass lacing and a decent little crown.

The aroma was charged with coffee and brandy. Light and sweet with delicate notes of molasses and sweet sugar like barrel ntoes. Hints of coffee buried underneath of it all. The flavor carried more of the same, but came off a little bit lighter then what I had hoped. Nice light notes of coffee, hints of molasses and dark caramel sugars. Some light woody flavors dancing around a caramel sweetness that rolled toward a nice finish that hinted at vanilla before dissapearing into a void of bitter coffee. Smooth feel on this one, with not alot of carbonation, but nowhere near thin. I was able to easily finish this one without much of an issue, as most of the alcohol was more then well hidden,

Overall not a bad big stout, though it falls short of the big boys. It has its place though and it is very sweet and drinkable. I would have no issue with drinking this one again and will be intrested to see how it holds up.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.92/5  rDev +39%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black with a nice frothy coffee colored head that rises to 3 fingers in height and falls to a tight rim of lace. Head showed good rocky texture as it fell.
Wonderful aroma of coffee and bourbon mixed. I love this combination and wonder if there are any bourbon aged coffees out there. I could sit here sniff this all day and be as content as a Southern Appalachian Redneck going to the County Fair.
Huge coffee flavors. I likee. Lot's of bourbon. I likee. Rich dark fruit flavors. Black cherries and current being the most prominant. This is one delicious beer. Lot's going on with out it being too big or overwhelming.
Mouthfeel is rich, full, and lush.
Way too drinkable. No hint of 10% abv at all. I don't understand why this beer doesn't get more love from the BA community, it's one of the best big stouts I've had. Highly recommended. Now where can I get another bottle?

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Photo of rallison
2.64/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Black with a 1/2 finger tan head that dissipates.

S: Slightly astringent coffee with a strong, slightly odd bourbon/vanilla character.

T: Astringent, bitter coffee takes the forefront; this, unfortunately, is not mellowed out by the barrel aging. Everything just seems to conflict a bit and that dry, astringent coffee flavor just kills it. And the burnt character is really unpleasant.

M: Relatively dry. I'd like this richer and less dry.

D: Low. Not a fan.

Honestly, I think this beer sucks. The flavors don't meld, the coffee is very poorly done, etc, etc. Oh, and the burnt turd mentioned in another review? Spot on.

Alpine, while barrel aging can be cool, learn how to do it right before jumping on the bandwagon. Not recommended.

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Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's, served in a pint glass. Also had a 10oz. glass for good measure. A very dark brown pour with a 1/4" cocoa brown head and decent carbonation. The head faded fast leaving some rings of lace clinging on each sip initially.

The first sniffs were somewhat faint with oak out front, followed by some fig, prune and black coffee. The bourbon was barely noticable to my old nose, which came as a bit of surprise for my expectations. Oak and coffee remainrd the stand-outs of this brew with notes of ripend plum (prune) and a hint of bitter baking chocolate intertwined. Even as it warmed a bit, the nose was still lacking.

The taste starts off mildly sweet of dark malt, chocolate and prune, that turn a bit raisiny and then wham...bitter coffee, black bitter coffee to the bitter end. Tasty enough, but not the complexity I was hoping for.

Body is a bit thin but not fron the barrel just seems to lack viscosity and bold flavor as well. The alcohol seems pretty tame and well hidden for 10% brew. A good, easy to drink stout in any case, not what I was expecting.

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Photo of largadeer
1.53/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Mr and Ms Nanoslug shared this one. Thanks?

Opaque black with a huge brown head that lasts forever, an ominous sign. Smells like sour coffee, heavy on the tart dark fruit, almost like a cocktail of oaky red wine and coffee. Pretty bad. It's even worse on the palate, very tannic and vinous, red grapes, dark cherries, tart fruit, coffee - clearly infected, the sourness clashes horribly with the coffee and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is thin, overcarbonated. This may have been good when it was first bottled, but it's best avoided now. Hopefully Alpine makes a new, non-infected batch of this at some point.

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Photo of Xul
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an effervescent dark, dark brown with a foamy mocha colored head that settles down to about one finger and remains for quite a while.

S: Somewhat subdued, roasted coffee is predominant along with dark cherries, bourbon, vanilla, and a touch of caramel.

T: Burnt coffee and roasted grains up front, followed by dark cherries and bourbon. Finishes with oak and some coffee bitterness. A bit of chocolate comes through as it warms. Flavors don't mesh very well.

M: Too thin for the style and ABV, carbonation is good but it's lacking that smooth, creamy texture I like in an imperial stout.

D: Goes down fairly easy for the style and ABV isn't too apparent. Honestly though, I wouldn't want more than one...

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jwc215
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BuckeyNation for this one!

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours black with a rich elegant head that has nice retention for style/abv.

The smell is of bourbon and roasted coffee with a bready background.

The taste is of nicely roasted coffee with bourbon notes. Some alcohol shows through, though is well-controlled. With a second pour it shows tart/sour notes that nearly bring it down a notch.

The feel is not so great. It has too much fizz for the style. It's not watery or necessarily thin, but I don't know that I like the tingle of this one.

A beer with great potential. Roasty roasty coffee notes, the sour/tart makes it different, but grows a bit too much as it progresses, and the carbonation is just too much for what it should be. Still, it's a very good imperial stout overall that I'm glad I had the chance to have!

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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -29.4%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Brad for sharing this bottle. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a dark brown with a good off-white head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose carries some roast and chocolate plus some dark fruits and cherries. A bit of sourness there as well. The flavor brings out some more sour character, and this one unfortunately seems to be infected. Some cherry and lactic notes along with bourbon and oak. Medium body and a slight acidity to the finish. Okay, even with the infection.

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Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - I picked this up at the Pizza Port Bottle shop after stumbling out of the Strong Ale Fest on day 1...I'm glad I did not drop it on the walk back to the Hotel. Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, earthy, some coffee, and roasty. Tastes of bourbon, wood, earthy, coffee, chocolate, and some dark fruits. Light alcohol in the finish. Smooth and creamy body.

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Boris from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 70 ratings