Boris | Alpine Beer Company

Liked This Beer
3.54 w/ 70 ratings

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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 58
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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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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Boris from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 48.6% out of 100 with 70 ratings
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