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 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 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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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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 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 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 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 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 brewandbbq
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the cellar.

Pours opaque black with mohogany tinging in the shoulders of the glass. A dark brown head of crackling bubbles rushed away with cola-like precision. Zero lacing atop an oily, glass-like surface for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with charred wood, heavily roasted coffee beans, and bourbon. Bitter chocolate, acrid malt, and a hint of vanilla follow through.

Full bodied with an oily, slick mouthfeel. Carbonation on the prickly side.

Acrid, burnt malt, singed oak, blackened coffee, and bakers chocolate start the palate. Shades of bourbon and a tart vineousity quickly step forward. Stone fruits run under and hint at an infection.

Finishes with lingering bourbon, charr, cherries, and coffee grounds.

This one is mildly harsh and a bit too acrid for my tastes. Also the cola-like pour, tartness and fruit is suggesting that this one is heading south in the cellar. The body is a bit thin for the style and the coffee is a bit acrid also.

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