Nikolai Vorlauf
Funky Buddha Brewery

Nikolai VorlaufNikolai Vorlauf
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #580
Ranked #7,262
4.03 | pDev: 7.94%
Funky Buddha Brewery
Florida, United States
Nikolai VorlaufNikolai Vorlauf
Notes: We brewed this imperial stout to be big, bold and strong, like a bear-hugging Russian wrestler. A thick body using oats and lactose is complimented by plenty of complex chocolate, cocoa, and caramel undertones, before finishing on a balanced roasty note.
Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 291 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 11.18.15

Pours from the 22oz bottle into a La Fin Du Monde snifter. Pitch black in color with a very nice sized tan to light coffee colored head. Generous amounts of lacing adorn the glass. The head retention is pretty stellar too.

Aroma somewhat lacking. Notes of coffee and alcohol and dark fruits; figs and raisins.

Flavor is decent. Alcohol is certainly noticeable and the coffee is as well. Fruitiness and a good bitterness burn in the back end. I would say on the fruity and alcoholic side with this one, even though the abv isn't that high. No alcohol burn, which is good. Kind of slick and oily on the finish. Bitter all the way down.

Not a bad beer, but I don't know why I saved it for this long. Kind of lost in the cellar. I would imagine this one is much better fresh. If you have one, drink it now.

Jan 12, 2019
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade two years ago. 2016 Vintage.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice dark black with a good two finger mocha head that fades slowly to leave nice sticky lacing and a thin wispy blanket.

S - Aromas of loads of dark fruits, raisins, caramel, bakers chocolate. Alcohol hidden quite nicely.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, really big dark fruit notes, light caramel. Little bit of chocolate, taste is really subtle. Almost slightly smoky. Decent roast, as it warms it gets a bit on the sweet side. Finish is lingering bitterness.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, low, but very creamy. Body isn't bad, could be a bit heavier. Alcohol hidden very very nicely.

O - Overall this was a solid RIS but the taste was a bit muted. Super subtle and subdued, not sure if that was purely from the age or what it's meant to be. Either way though it was a solid RIS.

Serving Type: Bottle

Jun 05, 2018

3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I ended the night with this one after a few IPA's. It felt a tad thin and a bit under carbed. The sweetness hurt this beer for me as it was a bit too overly sweet. Plenty of chocolate and coffee though

Sep 05, 2017
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Boccu from New York

4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black with really no head. Aroma of dark chocolate and dark fruits. Taste follows the nose with cocoa, Carmel,molasses, burnt marshmallows and vanilla. Not very imperial stout. A little too thin for a stout to me. Hung stout fan. Beginners Russian imperial stout. It's really a heavy porter. Big fan of funky Buddha just not this one.

May 26, 2017
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CHickman from New York

4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/14/16, it pours black as night with a cascading 1 finger khaki colored head that was full of tiny bubbles that dissipated average time and left incredible lacing coating the whole glass - it looked like fake frosted snow sprayed on a store window for a Christmas display.

Smells of dark fruit like plum, dates and raisins up front, followed by dark chocolate, molasses, espresso, caramel, dry oatmeal, caramel, metallic notes, cocoa powder, chocolate milk, coffee grinds, charred wood, earthy accents and a rum like sweetness. Sweeter and more fruity than most RIS noses, but it's not a bad thing.

Tastes brings more chocolate, burnt coffee and roasted grains than the nose indicated. The flavor like the nose brings the dark fruit like plum, dates and raisins, followed by dark chocolate, molasses, cocoa powder, espresso, caramel, maple syrup, oatmeal, caramel, metallic notes, milk chocolate like Cadbury, dry chalky yeast, coffee grinds, charred wood, earthy accents, vanilla, burnt marshmallow and a dark rum sweetness. Borders on cloyingly sweet, but thankfully has enough roasted notes to balance it out. Aftertaste has fresh piney hops and mild peppery spices for additional complexities that come out as it warms up.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery with very mellow carbonation, a medium to heavy body and a slight bitterness that kicks in before the malty/chocolate sweetness takes over and covers up the 10% ABV listed on the bottle. A very good beer that has some choppy parts which seem to level out as the brew unfolds and warms up. Overall an enjoyable RIS.

Apr 23, 2017
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Delirium snifter. Pours a brown coffee color which then forms into a rather inky black body. Almost no head except for a thin ring of bubbles.

Faint aroma of molasses, licorice, wet leaves, and coffee.

Starts off with bitter chocolates, followed by a sharp high alpha acid hop bite, and finally metallic coffee. It is a very bitter stout.

Feel crushes it. Totally creamy and otherworldly. Really nice on the palate.

Overall, a bit too bitter to be enjoyable, but it's worth finishing as it drinks well and has a great feel to it.

Mar 24, 2017
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When poured you could see light through the dark caramel colored beer but not once it is in the glass. There is a dense, creamy tan head that leaves a nice film of lacing at the top of the glass. I noticed the oats and chocolate notes right away and then found some hints of caramel and coffee. The taste is exactly as it smells with the roasted malt, coffee, oats and coffee giving way to a sweet burnt sugar/caramel taste that is balanced out with bitter chocolate and char at the end. This is not what I would typically think of when drinking a RIS but it is damn tasty.

Feb 05, 2017
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DraconusDesanctus666 from Florida

4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber,into a Funky Buddha snifter.

Thick,creamy,1 1/2 finger,khaki colored head with small to large bubbles.Nice cascade on the pour,leaves a sticky lacing on the side of the glass. Jet black in color with no light coming through the glass.Light carbonation.

On the nose I get chocolate,caramel,cocoa,and dark roasted malts.Hints of alcohol,and coffee as it warms as well.

The palate follows the nose .Chocolate,caramel,cocoa, roasted malts,and coffee once it warms.Nice toasty finish.

The body is medium / heavy.Nice toasty,warming,slight alcohol finish.

This is a pretty good IRS,although you don't get lots of your typical,dark fruits,toffee,and alcohol,it is still a good Russian imperial.I wouldn't put it up there with Marshal Zhukovs,or a few other IRS's...But still very good.Different for the style,but still has alot of typical IRS characteristics.

Dec 24, 2016
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cosmicevan from New York

3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

not too long ago I went fishing the trade seas for some Buddha and ended up w a small handful of these in those trades. it has that funky Buddha adjunct flavor vibe for sure which makes the beer sway from intense dark chocolate one sip to overly roast bomb. finish is super anise. I'm conflicted from sip to sip of I like it or find it meh, so this one lies somewhere between like it and meh for me.

Oct 23, 2016
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Roguer from Connecticut

3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brew; decent head retention.

Right off the aroma, you can tell this is a big, bold brew. Flavor soon follows: chocolatey, slightly sweet, with a touch of bitterness. Very creamy. Well balanced.

An imperial milk stout, perhaps? Yes, please! This is very nice overall.

Oct 14, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours almost pitch black, with a thick mocha head that leaves splashy lacing behind

Smell: Roasty, with chocolate, espresso, caramel and oat tones

Taste: Burnt toast, at the outset, with the char lingering underneath; through the middle, elements of chocolate, lactose, caramel and earthy hops build; in the finish, the burnt tones return to dominance

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation

Overall: Hard to think of this as an RIS, but rather a very powerful American Double Stout

Aug 27, 2016
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is jet black and creamy smooth on the pour, with a low profile, creamy, clingy, light tan head. Aromas of milk chocolate, robust and roasted coffee, hints of smoke and charred wood, dark roasted caramel sweetness, and some earthy highlights. Flavors are heavily roasted forward, with a solid punch of bitter roasted coffee and char leading the charge. Definitely a jolt to the taste buds. The coffee and charred aromas overwhelm the other characteristics, but if you dig around you can find some milk chocolate and cream sweet highlights, hints of roasted/toasted caramel, and some sugary highlights. The body is creamy smooth and slightly chewy, with a milk chocolate and subtle coffee bitter aftertaste. The bitter and roasted overtones really mellow out a bit the more you drink. The finish is creamy smooth, with a solid bittersweet and slightly charred linger. Good beer.

Aug 17, 2016
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Jaypeajus from Indiana

3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had 1x on tap at brewery and it was great! Bought a bottle and brought home. Bottled 11/18/15; consumed 6/25/16. Pours a bit thinner than I like to look for in an imperial stout. Otherwise, quickly dissipated head, bubbly ring with decent lacing. Smell coffee chocolate. Taste chocolate coconut coffee bitters dark fruit covered in more chocolate. Feel is smooth with the oats and at the same time a 10 second delay of bitterness hanging out. Sticky lips. Overall, was better on tap but still a solid offering.

Jun 26, 2016
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NoYouDidnt from Indiana

3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black. Very appealing white/khaki head. Aroma, coconut, dark malt, heavy dark fruit. Taste. Heavy on the coconut, coffee a bit. Dark chocolate. Very creamy mouthfeel. Overall. This is better with each sip. Good job.

Jun 26, 2016
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lwillitz from Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22-oz bottle into porter/stout glass

A - 2-finger head of dark tan over a pitch black body

S - roasted malts, chocolate, hint of coffee; very nice

T - roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, caramel sweetness, hint of vanilla; strong and complex

M - silky-smooth syrupy full body, low/medium carbonation

O - Nikolai Vorlauf is a sweet and heavy RIS. Good to the last drop.

Jun 01, 2016
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aleigator from Germany

3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an entirely black color, with a small, bubbly, very stable head.

Smells of leaf coated melted toffee and rock sugar with licorice. Milk chocolate and a hint of caramel add to a dried earth foundation.

Has a supersoft, very smooth, pleasantly thick mouthfeel, while ending with an intriguing dryness during the finish.

Tastes way more intense than it smells, leading off with toasted, earthen malts, while its thick mouthfeel produces tons of whipped cream. This gets amped up by melted caramel and rich layers of toffee. Those sweeter flavors blend directly into earthen, dry coffee and warming, bitter chocolate. Finishes with even more cream and a chocolate covered earth dryness, which still produces a sticky, nice caramel peak.

Great in taste, a little boring on the nose with a fantastic, thick and creamy mouthfeel, complimenting its chocolate qualities perfectly.

May 10, 2016
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BeerSamurai34 from Texas

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good basic version of a Russian Imperial Stout. Really nice creamy mouthfeel with improving thickness as it warms. Good adjunct chocolate flavors with nice roasted malts.

May 02, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Catch up from last night's RIS bottle share. Average imperial stout, nothing too noticeable here to set it apart from the pack, other than some slight metallic flavors in the finish.

Apr 18, 2016
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Smakawhat from Maryland

3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Deep walnut brown body, with a milky like pour out of the bottle. Fleeting tan head, manages a wet and big bubbled collar. Spotted leopard like lacing on the edges while consuming and barely a puck to speak of. Quite a bit of clarity also, with a faint touch of lighter chestnut brown to see through.

Mixing notes of dark grains, a touch of char mixing in with drip and wet like coffee aromas to go with. Seems a little flat of the nose and quite watery smelling. Still some decent aromas come to the mix at least. Hints at a bit of sharp brown nutmeg as well, and an interesting pungency that's hard to describe.

Milky roast. It's the first thing that pops in my head. Lingering sense of a malt rich tones, but turns considerably after the swallow. Light chocolate but with a bit of darker roast malt, leaving behind cocoa rich qualities in favor of more grain like flavors. Aftertaste is quite surprising, with a lingering chocolate note that seems to slowly build while finishing. Palate feel is more akin to a basic brown ale strangely, even on the malt bill, but then goes into a watery creamy and vanilla flavor.

A decent brew but doesn't remind me of anything like a classic Russian Imperial. Drinkable at least.

Apr 05, 2016
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Mateo2699 from Texas

3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is jet black, minimal red hue in the light. Not quite motor oil thick, but not porter thin. Light brown ring of head with moderate lacing.

Smell is pretty fitting to what you'll consider a big stout. More dark chocolate foward than anything, with some coffee. Sweet malts, oats. Definitely pretty noticable licorice.

Bitterness upfront from the dark chocolate, then suddenly the dark chocolate turns to a milk chocolate. Smooth, almost milky. Some vanilla hits, then the coffee takes over as an after taste. Mouth full isn't thick at all, but after taste sticks around like one.

Good stout, nothing extraordinary but has all the basic principals a solid stout should have.

Apr 02, 2016
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Bonkinishwa from Kentucky

4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Funky Buddha Brewery - Nikolai Vorlauf. 10.5% ABV. 22oz bomber split between two snifters. Bottled on 11/18/15.

Look: Pitch black body, allowing no light to penetrate. Retains a white ring and spotty lacing.

Smell: Roast coffee, however not overpowering, along with dark chocolate, sweet cream, caramel, and some vanilla.

Feel: Rich and silky smooth, with very little carbonation.

Taste: Roasty dark coffee and dark chocolate up front, along with some sweet cream, vanilla, and caramel to balance out the light roastiness.

Overall: This feels more like a Milk Stout, or American Stout because of how sweet it is. Very rich flavors that balance each other out.

Mar 23, 2016
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parris from Massachusetts

4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dark chocolate, and espresso dominate the nose and flavor, and the appearance. Somewhat sweet on the back end, muting any lingering bitterness. Full bodied, with light carbonation.

Mar 23, 2016
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do_ob from Kentucky

4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into a snifter. Medium brown pour & black in the glass. A thin, bubbly head of vanilla-colored foam tops this one off. Good retention. Nose is roasted malt, bittersweet baker's chocolate, vanilla, lactose, and caramel. The taste follows, and with outstanding balance. Quite sweet, and not roasty at all, like many other RIS's. Slightly oily and very chewy.

Overall, a bit 'off' if we're rating by style, but in a good way. I loved this.

Mar 21, 2016
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to markwise for yet another bottle, 22 oz. of odd Russian stuff on the label. Split with my wife.

The pour is dark black all the way to the edge; no ginger crown molding here. Subdued cocoa & roast in the nose, pretty sure those are standard options on any big stout.

Nikolai Vorlauf feels like driving a Ford Focus: point it in the right direction & you’ll get there. Dry roast, check, sweet malts, check, milky lactose, check, light chocolate, check. Big, chewy, mildly watery, no alcohol presence. It’s one strength is it’s wickedly easy to drink, like a milk stout half it’s ABV.

Unlike beers that combine ingredients to make something astounding, this one’s exactly the sum of its parts. Decent enough.

Mar 08, 2016
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Tonyjenlasc from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - Black in the glass, brown edging
Smell - Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, sweet malts
Taste - Follows the nose. Sweet milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts
Feel - A touch thin for a 10.5% RIS

Overall - A solid RIS

Mar 07, 2016
Nikolai Vorlauf from Funky Buddha Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 291 ratings