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Boris | Alpine Beer Company

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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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 58
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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Photo of mcallister
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

Big thanks to Joey for recommending another solid beer for me to try. This one arrived the other day and was quickly chilled and decanted into an oversized wine glass. Consumed on 11/22/2008.

The pour was nice, a rich and very dark brown, nearly black color appeared before me straight away. Nice hints of light peaking in through the sides on an otherwise dark as an abyss pour. Light tan head of maybe a half an inch peaking up through the top and settling down quickly, leaving some light side glass lacing and a decent little crown.

The aroma was charged with coffee and brandy. Light and sweet with delicate notes of molasses and sweet sugar like barrel ntoes. Hints of coffee buried underneath of it all. The flavor carried more of the same, but came off a little bit lighter then what I had hoped. Nice light notes of coffee, hints of molasses and dark caramel sugars. Some light woody flavors dancing around a caramel sweetness that rolled toward a nice finish that hinted at vanilla before dissapearing into a void of bitter coffee. Smooth feel on this one, with not alot of carbonation, but nowhere near thin. I was able to easily finish this one without much of an issue, as most of the alcohol was more then well hidden,

Overall not a bad big stout, though it falls short of the big boys. It has its place though and it is very sweet and drinkable. I would have no issue with drinking this one again and will be intrested to see how it holds up.

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Photo of kasper
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, dark brown; chocolate ice cream-colored head...creamy but kinda wet, as such no lacing whatsoever.

S: bakers chocolate, ripe dark fruit, sour oak barrel,

T: roasted chocolate malts with a strong acidity from the bourbon barrel. The dry finish literally feels like you bit into the oak of the barrel...

M: Somewhat thin for an imperial stout. Well carbonated.

D: A little bit light for the style, strong acidity from the oak barrel. Weird kind of taste. It's not bad, but its not one of my favorite barrel aged stouts either.

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Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's, served in a pint glass. Also had a 10oz. glass for good measure. A very dark brown pour with a 1/4" cocoa brown head and decent carbonation. The head faded fast leaving some rings of lace clinging on each sip initially.

The first sniffs were somewhat faint with oak out front, followed by some fig, prune and black coffee. The bourbon was barely noticable to my old nose, which came as a bit of surprise for my expectations. Oak and coffee remainrd the stand-outs of this brew with notes of ripend plum (prune) and a hint of bitter baking chocolate intertwined. Even as it warmed a bit, the nose was still lacking.

The taste starts off mildly sweet of dark malt, chocolate and prune, that turn a bit raisiny and then wham...bitter coffee, black bitter coffee to the bitter end. Tasty enough, but not the complexity I was hoping for.

Body is a bit thin but not fron the barrel ageing...it just seems to lack viscosity and bold flavor as well. The alcohol seems pretty tame and well hidden for 10% brew. A good, easy to drink stout in any case, not what I was expecting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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 likestoswallow
4.11/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

650 ml bottle from Bev4less in Santee. Pours an opaque dark brown-black color with a small khaki head that has fair retention.

The aroma is medium in strength and features chocolate, coffee and a touch of whiskey.

The flavor, like the aroma, also has plenty of chocolate and coffee, but there is an acidic quality that materializes and distracts(I speculate that this is because of the wood). Other prominent flavors are biter walnuts, mocha and very light bourbon. The bitterness was also quite distinct--this is perhaps the bitterest bourbon barrel concoction yet.

The mouthfeel is initially light but builds to a full effect. The finish is long with lingering acidic oak.

In conclusion, I believe there are three typical types of bourbon barrel aged beer; those with too much bourbon, those with too little and those with a good balance. This one falls into the second category, there is just barely a trace of the bourbon flavor. Personally I prefer the stronger types. That aside, this one agrees with me from the standpoint of drink-ability, it goes down easy and quickly. This might age well. I say Try it.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.66/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just picked up a bomber of this at South Bay Drugs and Liquor. Had been looking forward to trying this since I first saw the barrels in the brewery back in April.

Barrel Aged Imperial Stout With Coffee

From the label:
*Boris is a hearty Imperial Stout that is aged in 10 year old Bourbon barrels. We've added a custom blend of cold brewed coffee to enhance the complexity. You'll love the rich maltiness with hints of chocolate and dark fruit in this formidable brew.*

Poured into my Alpine Ale pint glass. Pours the color of ink, complete darkness and a somewhat fizzy, rapidly descending, two inches of mocha colored foam.

Huge barrel and wood presence with notes of vanilla, tons of dark fruits, black cherries and apricot pits. As the foam falls down to a ring the chocolate malts and coffee notes strengthen. It has a nice mocha aroma along with some cocoa, toast, and somewhat of a rye and whiskey finish. Wow, let this one sit in the glass for a few moments and it begins to shine. Dry wood, milk chocolate, roasted barley, and malted milk. I think the barrel is a tad too aggressive though, there are just some noticeable bitter tannins in there from the barrels. Hints of smoke and tobacco. Ha ha ha, there's an aroma there that just reminds me of how old people smell...crusty, stale bread. Grain and cereal too. As the beer warms up it reveals some brown sugar, maple syrup, and caramel.

Tastes of roasted barley, bitter chocolate, grains, cereal, oak, cocoa, and dry fruits. Again I get the apricot pit flavor, black cherries, and plums. More coffee flavor on the second sip but it seems a little too mellow. I don't know, something just seems missing. A tad ashen but not much. Notes of tobacco, toast, and more fruit in the finish. A bit of alcohol in the finish but for a 10% beer I think it's pretty well hidden. Some tangy wheat or rye-like flavor in the back of the tongue and well into the aftertaste. Hardly any mid-palate to speak of. There are the initial flavors of roastiness and oak and hardly anything in the middle and then a long finish and aftertaste of cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, tangy wheat/rye, and lots of oak. A little grape flavor, long in the aftertaste.

Feels rather thin on the palate, good carbonation but some meaty body is lacking. Dry, oaky finish. Lively carbonation fortunately picks up the mouthfeel toward the finish but the body is still lighter than what I hoped for.

Not a bad beer. I just don't think the barrel aging came out as good as it could have.

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Boris from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 70 ratings
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