Ringmaster's Reserve: Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Hi-Wire Brewing

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Russian Imperial Stout
4.06 | pDev: 6.4%
Hi-Wire Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 39 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%

Appearance: Pours out a creamyish, viscous black body with a lasting layer of smooth beige foam. Light lacing.

Smell: A heavy roasted edge of black malts with an acrid, smoky tone. A little scorched chocolate ganache. A dark fruitiness bolstered by the various barrel accents which are all pleasant, well-incorporated, but not overbearing, with notes of spiced dark sugar, wine-soaked oak.

Taste: Dark chocolate fudge and again with that marring, caustic black malt harshness, albeit it soothed but nowhere near totally softened by some light vanilla, dark brown sugar and coconut hints. Muddled, varying fruitiness with a shot of warming liquor that leaves it feeling a wee bit more than the 8.5% noted on the label of the bomber bottle. Rebounding sugar and spice with some bitterness that adjoins to the hard, astringent elements from the heavily roasted malts. Roasty, bittersweet finish with lingering warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Soft, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: The presence of those harsh black patent-type malts always disappoint me. I do not, on principal, agree with its use. The blend of barrels are agreeable enough. This I agree with.

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Photo of mntlover
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours black least seems pretty black in a dark bar setting. Small one finger khaki head lace very well.

Aroma is big lots of bourbon and rum notes everywhere. Dark roasted base some coffee, vanilla and smoke hints. Smells like a big stout, did not notice the wine barrels in the nose myself.

Taste is like the nose lots of barrel notes bourbon, rum and I can taste the wine barrels even though my nose didn't notice them. Alcohol dominates but in a good way, couldn't believe this was 8.5 as it seems more like 12 to me. Has the normal big stout flavors but the three barrel blend make this unique and I can't wait to try it again.

Mouthfeel starts big but lightens with the alcohol and lightly fizzy carbonation. Would prefer a little less C02 personally.

Overall this was recommend at a bottle shop we stopped at, glad we stopped by to try it out. Found it enjoyable and different hope they keep making this one.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%

Courtesy of JP...thanks man! 22 oz bomber brought back from a recent trip. I know nothing about this beer and am excited.

Pours mostly black with some light penetration along the fringes. Some soapy bubbles linger.

Smells nice: vinous qualities, likely from the wine barrels, are modest and pleasant. Some light red fruits mix with some dark spicy rum notes. Seeing as this is aged in wine, rum, whiskey, and bourbon barrels, I'm catching much more the first two that the last.

Ah, there's the whiskey/bourbon. Light coconut linger atop some batter and brownie. Dark fruits peek in. Tobacco says hello. A wide array of tastes and smells that never seem disjointed or heavy handed.

Perky carbonation which fizzes up front but allows the flavors to pop along the palate and then are swept away in a pleasant linger.

I found myself casually, yet eagerly, working my way through the entire bottle. Never taxing, always looking forward to the next sip, and pondering the variety of goings on with this beer...a real nice surprise. Thanks buddy!

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Vol 2, according to the bomber. Poured in a snifter, the beer is jet black, oily on the pour, with a dense, foamy, light tan head that settles out into a nice, even surface coating. Aromas of a booze blend of wine and bourbon, with some wood spice and vanilla notes, molasses, chocolate, brown sugar, subtle bitterness, and hints of coffee. Very rich and heavy nose. Flavors are bittersweet forward, with a blast of cocoa nib and coffee, nicely rounded out with highlights of earth and peat, woody notes, and boozy highlights. There is a solid warmth building as you go. Smooth, layered, robust body, with a bitter and boozy aftertaste. Bitter and heavily roasted linger in a rich, smooth finish. This is a tasty, big beer.

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Photo of DVMin98
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Thin bodied. This RIS has A LOT going on. Very complex, but its aged in three types of barrels. Can't really tell which way its going. Kind of muddled, but still very tasty. I definitely enjoyed it, but there are way more BA RIS that are better. Especially for the price-point ($16)

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Photo of mechamifune
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%

Given the current landscape of BA Imperial Stouts, I feel this one deserves a little more recognition. Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but the blending of the different types of barrels creates something here that's pretty interesting and a departure from the norm that's been established of late. Not sure what some age will do to this one, but i'm really enjoying it fresh.

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Photo of Goatdavemac
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%

There is so much going on with this beer. It has big flavor and lots of it. Make sure you share this with someone and don't keep it to yourself!


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Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My second Hi-Wire beer that I have tried.Pours nearly jet black except for just a hint of reddish brown when held to the light,a full creamy beige head atop.Vanilla/bourbon stands out in the nose along with toast and caramel,some chocolate comes in as it sits.The feel is top notch with some chewiness and fullness, flavors of vanilla and toasty oak upfront with mild alcohol notes in the finish,there is some roast/coffee but it's not real big.This is a great sipping beer but not that "big" compared to many of the barrel aged RIS styles,I like it alot.

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Photo of BirdsandHops
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: pours black with half a finger of khaki head that fades into a bubbly ring with decent lacing.

S: roasted malts with a lot of semi-sweet chocolate and oak. There are some caramel and burnt sugar notes underneath.

T: roasted malts, cacao, and semi-ssemi-sweet chocolate sheer as well before a big blast of oak flavors. There are some licorice, caramel, and char flavors in there as well before a lightly boozy and bitter finish.

M: thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is a bit sticky feeling.

O: a good beer, overall. Tons of oak flavors, which I enjoy.

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Ringmaster's Reserve: Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout from Hi-Wire Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 39 ratings