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 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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Photo of srandycarter
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours very dark, nice dark mocha, thin bubbled head. Some webby lacing.

S - Powdered chocolate is the dominant smell. Some malt back up.

T - Powdered chocolate is the dominant taste, followed by an astringent metallic flavor that didn't really mesh well.

M - Med body, maybe over carbed, balance a little out of whack.

D - Nice enough. Would have another.

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Photo of HopDerek
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bomber picked up at Pizza Port Carlsbad's bottle shop back in December.

Pours a deep oily black with some dark brown edges. 1.5 fingers of burnt tan head has decent retention but leaves just a little lacing. Smells of coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, and some bourbon warmth. Tastes of vanilla, chocolate syrup, dark fruits like raisin, plum, and black cherry, roasted malt, and coffee with a hint of anise and a finish of bitter earthy hops and bourbon warmth. Full in body with low carbonation but a nice pop. Smooth and creamy, roasty but overshadowed by sweet vanilla and bourbon tones. Definitely not something to session, and the aftertaste of bourbon lasts for a good while, but an enjoyable brew worth sipping on a cool evening.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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 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 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 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 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 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 tpd975
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ibrew for including me in his SouthBay order.

A: Pours a very dark black hue with an average fizzy tan head. There is very little retention and no lace.

S: Bold oaky qualites up front. Big on the coffee as well. More subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla. Wow I wanna dive in.

T: Very bold. Tons of oak up front, you can tell this one spent some time in the barrel. Bitter coffee come next, the combination of the two gives off a bit of astringancy. Hints of chocolate are there, along with a dash of vanilla. No real booze though despite the ABV.

M: Medium to full in body, a bit sharp on the tongue.

D: Right now this one is a sipper. I drank the whole bomber but it was overtime. This one needs to rest a bit. Hopefully the oak and coffee will die a bit. If the chocolate and vanilla can push thru a bit with time it will be a real winner.

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