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 Arbitrator
1.03/5  rDev -70.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Shared by Nanoslug at a recent tasting. Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks Adam / Anna!

A: Pours a pitch black body with ample mocha-colored head. I'm a little worried about a stout having this much head. Infected?

S: Solventy. And yep... Infected. Strong Dimetapp-like smell of cherries and solvent, masking the underlying chocolate and whatever else I couldn't pick up.

T: Solventy. Tastes just like cough syrup. The infection really had its way with this one.

M: Solventy.

D: Solvent-... oh, sorry. It was a drainpour.

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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 waltonc
2.09/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked up a bottle of this at South Bay Drugs while I was in San Diego last weekend. Pours dark if not black in color with an appetizing thick tan head. Looks fantastic.

Smells and tastes of coffee and chocolate. However, there is also a tart fruit flavor going on here that does not work with the roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, or maybe that's tannins from the wood?

Although this was aged in bourbon barrels, I didn't notice much, if any, bourbon in the taste either. If Goose Island BCS is at the extreme bourbon end of the spectrum for bourbon barrel aged stouts, I would put this at the opposite end. I split this bottle with abfraser and unfortunately we both ended pouring out a fair amount of our glasses.

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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 vurt
2.66/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle purchased at South Bay Drugs, poured into a snifter.

95% black, 5% amber-brown (like the color you'd find on a guitar with a tobacco sunburst finish). Even in a shot glass this beer looks pretty much opaque and black. While the head lasts, it is dense and sticky and has a beautiful warm tan color. This is just how I would expect a big bold stout to look.

A huge oaky sourness right up front, along with plenty of strong coffee and dark chocolate with a huge cacao content. There is also quite a lot of dark fruits- plums, raisins, figs. Vanilla with a hint of maple and caramel rounds everything out. I also get another woody component that reminds me of pencil shavings. It's oddly appealing. There's very little sweetness in the nose.

This beer starts off with a huge roasty bitterness, followed immediately by intense oak flavors. The black malts and oak barrel aging contribute a strong tannic acidity. Any bourbon character from the barrels is overwhelmed by the oak. Rich coffee and chocolate flavors compete for attention as the initial wave of roastiness subsides. A step further into this beer yields an unappetizing chemical green apple flavor. Some subtle smoke, vanilla, and burnt marshmallow flavors surface in the middle. The finish is lightly astringent and vinous, with flavors of tart plums, dry red wine, dark malt, Wheat Chex, and brightly acidic coffee. Ever chewed on a ballpoint pen and accidentally got some of the ink in your mouth? That's kind of what this tastes like.

The body feels a bit thin for an imperial stout that clocks in at 10%, The lingering acidity in this beer could be affecting my perception there. Carbonation is agreeably low. Goes astringent at the swallow.

I usually love coffee stouts, but finishing this one was a real challenge to me. Like oak? You'll love this one. There are several strong flavors in this beer but none of them are fitting together very well at all. I found the acidity to be obtrusive and distracting. A touch more sweetness could've helped offset these characteristics (or perhaps knitted them together). I have a couple more bottles, which I will set aside in hope that time will help integrate this beer better. But right now this is one of the more disappointing beers I've tried this year.

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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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Photo of hellbilly
2.9/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle shared by superdave70 at bill and wendy's...

pours a nice dark brown color with a short lived brown head and some drippy lace. the nose has a distinct sour/cream cheese-y stink of aging coffee along with smoke, lactose, chocolate, minor bourbon spiciness and a bunch of roasted grain.

flavor is a bit of a let down... lots of roast, some smoke, bad bourbon, old coffee and a very unpleasant sour dusty character. body is medium. sourness makes it thin and easy to drink but hard to swallow. carbonation is sharp.

something is definitely wrong here?7/3/4/2/12/2.8

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.04/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber picked up at Lone Hill,

A: Pours a very dark brown with a small cap of tan foam, solid retention.

S: Strong barrel aged notes of bourbon and vanilla, with a light charcoal note. Definitely makes me want to taste the beer.

T: Definite notes of bourbon and dark fruit. Acidity is there and offers lactic acid notes and green apple peel. Coffee is relatively light, but becomes prominent in the aftertaste.

M: Honestly way too light for this style and too much acidity, tannic for sure, made the beer tough to get through.

D: A beer that shows promise, at the beginning I just wanted to get through it, but it kind of grew on me by the end of the glass. Still not in the upper echelon of great American stouts though.

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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 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 0110x011
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a half finger, tight tan head. Nose is coffee, oak, bourbon, and dark fruit. Flavor starts with a strange, tart green apple flavor and oak. The coffee, fruit and light bourbon flavors come in later. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, tannic and oaky. Surprisingly dry. An interesting beer, but the green apple flavor and overpowering oak are a turnoff.

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Photo of corby112
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a 2.5 finger frothy, dark chocolate/coffee-colored head that quickly settles into a lasting cap and ring.

Roasted coffee aroma with a nice oaky bourbon character as well as some roasted/burnt malt notes. It's nice that the other aromas are able to shine and it doesn't just smell like bourbon. Plenty of dark chocolate, burnt toast, oak, vanilla, dark fruit and roasted coffee bean.

Lots of tight carbonation up front along with a very strong charred roastiness that is a bit overpowering. Pretty strong bourbon presence but not too hot with some nice vanilla oak and deep roasted nutty coffee bean. Sweet bitter dark chocolate along with the deep roastiness is a bit intense and hurts it's drinkability a bit. Pretty sweet with subtle alcohol warmth but the ABV is pretty well masked considering. The dark fruit notes add to the sweetness, creating a beer that is pretty complex but a bit sloppy. Lots of intense flavors that don't go together very well. I remember liking this a lot more at a recent tasting but this time around I'm not really feeling it.

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Photo of getkrunkhoe
3.36/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft @ Blue Palms, Bottle @ The Verdugo

App-Nice dark brown almost black color. I could barely see through it. head presence wasn't completely there.

A- Himts of Chocolate, Vanilla, and it was very "piney".

T- Grapefruit, Maple, definetly get American Oak.
and choc. was present.

Mf- felt pretty light for me not much going on, was almost light to medium but flat throughout.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.37/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a pitch black with about an inch of tan foam.

The smell has a good coffee nose that I notice right off the bat but I also get some sweetish notes. Maybe some dark fruit and light vanilla? It kind of reminds me of the nose of a Black Albert.

The taste is very boozy with a lot of the bourbon at the forefront. Dark fruits follow with some light vanilla notes and some coffee. Wow. Lots of warming here and like I said, the bourbon dominates my palate. I also get some sourish notes that I think are a plus in this brew. Some bitterness is now moving in with what I'd call dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel is pretty light for the style and the carbonation is also light. Head retention is poor and as far as lacing goes, when I tip my glass, there's about an inch of it.

Drinkability? It's far from being the best. This is a sipping brew and even then, I find I take a lot of time in between sips. A good candidate for aging? Me thinks so.

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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 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 Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four finger thick, deeply browned head. The beer is quite black, but does seem to have a touch of brown in its dark depths, but it is quite opaque when held up to the light. The aroma smells of toasted coconut, vanillin, hot alcohol, chocolate, nicely roasted coffee (that isn't harsh like in many a beer), deeply toasted malt character that is quite rich smelling, and maybe a hint of fruitiness in the finish (is this signs of an infection, if so it is barely noticeable in the nose). The aroma is quite nice, I always enjoy a Bourbon barrel aged beer that focuses on toasted coconut and vanillin notes. Interestingly enough a lot of the Imperial stout aromatics play a subtle, supporting role to the Bourbon barrel notes.

Somewhat viscous as it first hits my tongue, the beer is really not all that sweet and it finishes quite dry. The dry finish is a combination of big roasted malt character, roasted coffee flavors, spicy bourbon oak, bourbon-like alcohol and fair amount of tartness. The tartness is definitely, at least partially, from all the roast grain character, but it seems more than that, like this has been infected a bit. A flash of toasted coconut and vanillin shines through towards the finish of each sip, but it is quickly drowned out by slightly too harsh roasted notes and the acidity. This does seem to be quite a bit lighter bodied than it should be. The acidity in the finish works in tandem with the charred roast character to make the finish quite acrid, bitter and acidic, all in a bad way unfortunately.

I really liked the aroma of this beer, the flavor though just didn't live up to that standard. It comes off as a bit thin, to dry tasting and not nearly rich and satiating enough. Much of the body and richness may have been robbed from this beer by the infection that seems to be slowly setting in. This beer is powerful enough still that this hasn't completely ruined this beer.

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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 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 UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at GRG1313’s tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with sour cocoa and coffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness and acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is showing signs of infection but is still drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a very thick brown head. Nose is a mix if vanilla (from barrels) and coffee tones. A bit buttery as well, I want to say. Hmm. Flavor has some things going on, sure. Definitely get some bourbon tones, but it lacks balance IMO. Too tangy. Zoo much zing. Too much spicey-ness on top of a pile o' malts. Feel is thick on liquid. Carbonation is slightly lower. Eh. This is an okay beer. I drank all 22 ounces of it because it was there. Not because I was thrilled to be doing so.

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Photo of Floydster
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle purchased from the Pizza Port Bottle Shop for around ten dollars, opened tonight after a long week at work that is thankfully almost over, poured into a pint glass, color is quite black, maybe some extremely dark brown tones around the edges, two inch creamy dark tan head, decent retention, sticks around for about five minutes, minimal lacing, aroma is coffee, mild bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, and dark cocoa, flavor starts off with a surprisingly tart bite, middle has chewy malts that feel a bit burned, finish is rather dry with a big java presence, as it warms the brew comes more mellow and weird fruity sting at the beginning goes away a bit, expected and wanted a bigger bourbon presence, the oak did cause even more dry bitterness in the aftertaste which was desirable, there was also some underlying chocolate in there by the end, mouthfeel is mildly tart at first, then dry and roasted, medium body that is on the thinner side for an imperial stout, high level of carbonation, taste lingered for several minutes, could drink the whole bottle probably but that would about the limit, can be filling and coffee is a little much at times, alcohol is not hidden the best either, I expected big things from this beer considering each special Alpine release so far has been quite good, this one was good but not fantastic like I had hoped, might drink again but pretty expensive, this beer probably would have been better minus the coffee component but they took a chance and it worked for the most part, recommended

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Photo of Jwale73
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of the Belgianator. Served in my Old Stock snifter. Pours one shade shy of black with a half inch, loose, tan-colored head that dissipates into a skim and a thin band. Nose reveals tart dark fruit, brown sugar and some bourbon notes as it warms. Flavor profile expresses cardboard, malt and tart fruit. A light, coffee character comes out as it warms, and the cardboard flavor disappears, revealing a pleasant charred quality in its absence. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a lively carbonation and a light acidity. All and all not a bad beer, but it's definitely past its prime in my opinion.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The other BORIS provided by Brad. Thanks. I liked this beer more than almost everyone there.

Beer is black dark black with a dark brown head of small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation, low retention.

Aroma is sweet and roasty, a little boozy. Definitely some alcohol in there.

I have no idea how old this is but it tastes a little old, a little papery but not too distracting, beer is mostly sweet with a strong roast, I'm not going to say it is a great stout but it didn't taste infected or very "off" to me. The alcohol is present too, I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad.

The beer is black with a small beige head. The aroma offers some sweet malt, chocolate and roast. Barrel character comes through more and more as the beer warms, offering an interesting tannic component. Burned / charred roast presence is abundant throughout. Subtle chocolate notes and hints of smoke in there as well. Medium bodied with a healthy booze presence. Overall, this was pretty good.

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