Boris | Alpine Beer Company

58 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by seaoflament on 11-11-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 70
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 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 johnnnniee
4.5/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in the Black Booty Bif from jtrockchalk, thanks for the opportunity and the generosity.

Pours a solid black color with a good sized tan head that stuck around for a bit, but receded to form a cap on top. Smells of coffee right away with some roasted grains, and chocolate in there as well, but the aroma is definitely heavy on the coffee. Taste starts off with roasted grains and chocolate followed by a melding towards coffee. The coffee dries out and some bourbon pokes through and finishes with some oak and alcohol with bitter dark fruit and coffee bitterness in the finish. Theres a lot going on here, and its all good, but I wonder if this needed to have the coffee in here at all. Medium level of carbonation, thick body, creamy, somewhat acidic mouthfeel. This is my first Alpine beer, hopefully it won't be my last this is a great stout. I can't find anything to fault this one, it all works together very well imho.

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Photo of Deuane
4.45/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Deep, black/brown with a thick tan head that slowly reduced to a thin veil. Head revived with minimal agitation and left nice lace.

S-Surprisingly not overwhelming but very pleasant. Coffee infused bourbon with a touch of tobacco and dark roasted malt and earthy hop bitterness.

T-Mmmm...Bourbon accented coffee notes dominate. Minor flavours of dark roasted malt, cocoa and earthiness in the background. A great semi-dry finish.

M-Medium body with LONG lingering flavours.

D-Superb! Big coffee flavour with bourbon accents, what a great combination. So tasty, but would I expect anything less from Alpine? A resounding NO! would be the answer. A great brew from one of my favorite breweries.

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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 Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, HUGE two-finger plus creamy tan head, which leaves tons of very nice sticky/creamy lacing. The nose is malty, hints of dark fruit, bourbon, chocolate/coffee notes. The taste is very nice, malty, nice touch of bourbon, very slight dark fruits, chocolate/coffee notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden pretty well, a very nice sipper. Very drinkable, this is a very nice brew.

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.25/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just to start of this bottle was totally infected and since I'm a sour fan I totally loved it!

A very dark brew with a little brown around the edges. Nice big head that settles quickly.

A nice tart aroma to go with the bourbon, roasted malts and coffee.

Taste just like it smells. Tart, sour, bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee. I paired it with a blue cheese and it was simply amazing!

The mouthfeel was light to medium with plenty of carbonation and very smooth.

I like Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts and I like Sours, this beer was a hit for me.

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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 lackenhauser
4.06/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black-about as black as I think you could get actually. Very nice, tight cocoa head on top. Nice aroma-mellow blend of oak, hops and some sweet roasted malt. Nice big blast of roasted goodness up front. I get very little coffee. Oakey/inky sort of flavors. Roasted dryness seems to round the whole thing out. Good body. A really good beer overall. Might need a "boost" flavor/body wise to really make it an imperial. Very drinkable at 10%. Another killer treat from jtrockchalk my Secret Santa.

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

Appearance: Pours out an inky, black body with no real head formation beyond a few fat bubbles.

Smell: Heady, malty aroma of dark chocolate, instant espresso powder, black currents (maybe a few blueberries), and only minor notes of vanilla and bourbon.

Taste: Sweetish dark maltiness with a slight amount of bittersweet chocolate transition to a taste of coffee liqueur. As with the nose, I get a very deep, vinous fruitiness. Montage of bourbony flavors: brown sugar, vanilla, light wood. However, they do definitely take a backseat to the coffee and fruits. I don't pick up, well, any hop flavors or bitterness beyond the bitterness coming from the coffee. Touch of earthy creosote on the fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Low carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hides its ABV rather nicely. Well, that was fairly pleasant, though not nearly in the top tier of bourbon-basted Imperial Stouts.

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

From a 12ozer.

Pours a motor oil black, with a DARK tan head, very little retention.

Smells dark and roasty, with a hint of bourbon as it warms.

Flavor is mostly dark and roasty malt, lots of bourbon in this, with a little bit of astringency. More astringency comes out in the aftertaste. Some nice dark fruit as the beer warms.

A great, but not exceptional example of one of my more favorite styles, probably would drink it if given to me, but probably not seek it out.

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Photo of sholland119
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to johndoe8 for the chance to try this one! I am very lucky that we did *not* get an infected bottle. Yay!

A-Opaque deep brown with a thin mocha head. No lacing.

S-Sweet chocolate, lots of roasted coffee and just a bit of bourbon. Coffee takes the lead here.

T-Bitter chocolate and coffee and more bourbon in the taste than in the nose. A bit warming in the finish. flavors perhaps a bit lacking in complexity for the style but very nice.

M-Medium bodied, a bit thin on the palate for the ABV.

D-Nicely drinkable for a beer of this size. I enjoyed this one.


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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary."

--Boris Pasternak

Raven's eye black with precious little in the way of highlights. A big burly chunk of mocha colored foam was created on the pour, giving the beer the typical 'black and tan' look of the style. Almost no lace prevents the next highest score from being considered.

Alpine decided to give us both bourbon (barrel aging) and coffee in this American Imperial and/or double stout, which is something that quite a few craft breweries are doing these days. If the aroma is anything to go on, they've succeeded admirably. Both additional ingredients are appreciated; coffee slightly more so.

Boris is definitely good beer, but it isn't the best beer of this style to have ever entered my glass. More malt would have gone a long way toward deepening the flavor profile. It would have also added more complexity. Unfortunately, it doesn't soak into the taste buds as completely as a 10.0% stout should.

Interestingly enough, bourbon whiskey is more prominent than coffee on the palate. The usual caramelized sugar, charred oak and vanilla bean notes are present and accounted for. Next comes coffee, cocoa, a shot of molasses and a tangy fruitiness (plums, raisins) that beer of this style doesn't usually showcase. Maybe this stuff is pretty complex after all.

Too bad the mouthfeel doesn't keep pace with the rest of the attributes. It's lighter than it should be and doesn't appear to be getting bulkier or smoother as the bottom half of the bomber is breached. Low-end carbonation works well.

Boris Barrel Aged Imperial Stout With Coffee is neither ordinary nor extraordinary, but is somewhere in between. Since it doesn't appear on the Alpine website, its future would seem to be murky. I'd like ABC to give it another go, adding more malt the next time around.

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Photo of goodspeed94
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up from Joey at South Bay on a recent beer haul.

A: Pours a nice pitch black, oil smoothness, and quickly develops a great coffee ice cream colored head, although this is just a teaser and doesn't hang around very long.

S: Rich coffee smell, South American type beans, with hints of a cherry-filled chocolate bar. Don't get much from the Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. For some reason I feel I can only get 70% of the smell, like its holding something back.

T: Not quite what I was anticipating but definitely a pleasant surprise. Coffee is apparent but what comes through strong are the fruit notes. Chocolate makes an appearance, as well as the Boris alcohol punch. Little sourness, maybe some wood flavors, can't get the bourbon notes. Unique interpretation of the style.

M: For a 10% Imperial stout, this one is rather thin. Since it plays more to the lighter flavors, it ends up that way on the mouth. Would be really an amazing brew on a Nitro tap.

D: Very drinkable for an Imperial Stout. As long as you're not opposed to the unexpected profile, a few of these could be put back no problem.

Overall, an interesting brew, might disappoint me slightly if I wanted one of the "keep me warm" bourbon stouts.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Splitting a bottle with Stopper. pouring at cellar temp into a snifter. The beer pours a dark brown color with only a tan edge layer of head.
Aroma is rich chocolate malt with espresso notes and very heavy roasted malt, almost a hint of smoke.
First sip reveals an average body with mild carbonation.
Flavor is roasted malt and coffee with maybe a little bit of dark chocolate bar.
There arent any hops that I can detect, and the booze is well hidden as well.
The beer is fairly easy to drink and I didnt get the signs of infection found in other bottles. A little one dimensional but what it has is pretty good.

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Photo of bigbelcher
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a very nice rich black color. Light tan head. Good belgian lacing. The aroma was chock full of roasted malt. Not much boubon or oak and the same can be said of the flavor. It was very drinkable. Full bodied and rich but lacking the barrel properties that I was looking for. Slight hint of coffee. Not much CO2 but I wasn't expecting much being barrel aged. Hard to justify the cost of it although it was a good stout, just not a great one.

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Photo of mcallister
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Man this is a great looking beer with an even better more appealing looking head. Pours like used motor oil with a deep mocha head that cleans up somewhat into a more deep tan appearance. Good lacing and very little light penetrates.

Nose is sensational as well. Mocha, dark chocolates high in cocoa percentages, loads of coffee with an espresso like appeal. The bourbon comes through and melds nicely with the coffee aromas and adds a bit of oak and toasty vanilla to the mix. Multiplexed with black fruits as well.

A little thin in mouthfeel with a tannic woody presence bearing down on the middle and finish. Coffee tannins as well with a bit of hop bitterness. Full of chocolatey mocha induced coffee grounds with a good amount of the bourbon making itself known. Much in the way of dark fruits, plum, mollasses, blackberries and even a hint of blueberry. Some oak and vanilla with a hint of caramel. A very slight roast on the end. Anxious to see how this ages as it will either come into itself and mellow out or totally fuck up.

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

A: pours an abyss-like black, nice light brown head. great retention, with very nice lacing.

S: huge aromas of bourbon. some coffee, chocolate and minor toffee. massive roasted malts. coconut and vanilla.

T: currants, coffee, tons of bourbon notes. coconut and vanilla. rich roasted malts providing tons of chocolate and a light sourness.

M: full bodied. huge palate with the bourbon. perfect carbonation.

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Boris from Alpine Beer Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 70 ratings.
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