Enlightened Despot
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

Enlightened DespotEnlightened Despot
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Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #196
Ranked #3,234
4.2 | pDev: 10.95%
Nov 25, 2020
Feb 21, 2014
Enlightened DespotEnlightened Despot
Notes: The Enlightened Despot is an amazingly rich, complex and surprisingly drinkable Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout. Notes of chocolate, vanilla, and of course the delicious flavor of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon round out this robust stout. Aged for 100 days in 15 Year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrels, made with 10 specialty grains and containing over 78 IBU of American Hop flavor, this truly is a one of a kind beer.
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Photo of Treyliff
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Treyliff from West Virginia

2016 Vintage
750ml bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours jet black in color with a two-finger foamy khaki head that has good retention

S- plenty of oaky barrel juice on the nose, adding layers of caramel, vanilla and toasted coconut. Brownie batter, dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, a hint of char

T- as with the aroma, the barrel is immediately noticed; barrel juice, oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee. Mid-palate brings out some chocolate undertones that add notes of brownies and prunes. The finish brings out some faded hop notes, evidence that this has a highly hopped stout when fresh. Lingers of bourbon, oak, vanilla and char

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that turns silky into a warming finish

O- the bourbon barrel dominates this one, which I'm a fan of. But those looking for a bit more balance might not be a fan

Nov 25, 2020
3.71 by QuintusHorace from California on Oct 29, 2020
Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by metter98 from New York

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oak and vanilla are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has additional notes of chocolate (of the Hershey's syrup variety).
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Russian Imperial Stout doesn't seem to be as strong compared to other beers in the style - it seems like the oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrel aging softens things up. It does a very good job at hiding the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: can

Sep 12, 2020
4.24 by bigpoppa67 from Wisconsin on May 03, 2020
3.87 by Mikexw from New York on Sep 07, 2019
4.5 by NickThePyro from Washington on Sep 05, 2019
Photo of cjgiant
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by cjgiant from District of Columbia

2019 version "aged in oak bourbon barrels":
Beautiful obelisk of a body with a billowing brown head that consolidates into a thick foam as it slowly falls back to the liquid that contained it. Lacing is heavy at first, but clears up further down the glass.

Nose and taste keep the same general course, but do take slightly different routes to get there. Both have a strong charred wood roasted malt at their base. The nose shows a little alcohol when the beer has warmed, but offers a little marshmallow as well. The taste throws in a little unsweetened chocolate brownie with the bourbon lingering longer and longer as the beer warms.

A bold, mildly thick RIS that brings the bitter char of the stout (which dominates early) with the spice and sting of the bourbon that seeps from the barrels that housed the beer for a year. A nice representation of a straightforward big barrel-aged beer.

Jul 21, 2019
4.28 by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington on May 08, 2019
4.25 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana on Mar 23, 2019
3.84 by Slatetank from Pennsylvania on Oct 14, 2018
Photo of the_benskii
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by the_benskii from Washington

Poured 10/12/18 into a snifter - dark with a nice even khaki head. Smells of boozey with bourbon and hints of vanilla and a bit of cherry? Tastes of molasses, nuts, bourbon and chocolate with a nice mildly sweet after taste. Not too thick but smooth and light carbonation. Easy to drink and puts you on the floor.

Oct 13, 2018
4.25 by kylehay2004 from Illinois on May 28, 2018
Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by avalon07 from South Carolina

L: Had this beer on-tap at Lickinghole Creek Brewery, poured into a plastic cup. Had a dark brown / black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Very good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla.

T: Tasted of a good shot of bourbon (and its accompanying barrel, a tinge of hops (mostly in the finish), lots of chocolate, a hint of vanilla, and some molasses. It's a complex and big flavor, but it's not as overwhelming as you might think. It has a nice subtlety and good balance.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with a silky smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, a very solidly made, easy to drink stout. Worth a try.

Apr 22, 2018
4.17 by Jason_cs from Florida on Apr 15, 2018
4 by jschott75 from Illinois on Mar 03, 2018
4 by Lucoli from New York on Nov 09, 2017
4.25 by Zekenyce from New Jersey on Oct 14, 2017
4.23 by hophugger from Virginia on Aug 07, 2017
3.99 by JMUbrewz from Virginia on Aug 03, 2017
3.89 by kidzord from Illinois on Jul 19, 2017
4.02 by Eziel from Ohio on Jul 10, 2017
4.75 by razorsdescent from Pennsylvania on Jun 30, 2017
Photo of TheSixthRing
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by TheSixthRing from California

2017 release, aged in 'Oak Bourbon Barrels'. Bottle no. 85

Appearance - Pours black with cola brown edging. Cocoa colored, finger width head. Fizzes away in fair time, leaving a small island of suds that gravitates toward the edge of the glass while a razor thin, broken line encircles that edge. No lacing.

Smell - Strong aroma of chocolate, vanilla, oak, molasses and faint toffee.

Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate, vanilla and oak upfront. Booziness hits with bourbon sweetness and accompanies molasses. Light malt roastiness on the back end. Finishes with the sweeter notes giving way to oaky wood and a hint of earth before faint cocoa sweetness returns in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low carbonation. Slightly syrupy texture with a somewhat harsh, dry and boozy finish.

Overall - Not my favorite BA Lickinghole offering, but pretty good regardless. The overall balance is fair; I just wish there was more roast to tie it all together. Not the smoothest drinking BA impy, either. Despite the flaws, there's enough redeeming value here to proclaim this as a must-try beer, provided it isn't too much hassle to get.

May 21, 2017
4.11 by Jamison85 from Indiana on May 17, 2017
3.75 by rspauldi from Texas on Mar 14, 2017
4.14 by oriolesfan4 from Maryland on Feb 21, 2017
4.25 by brocktune from Virginia on Feb 05, 2017
Photo of BeerSeniorJudge
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3
by BeerSeniorJudge from North Carolina

Dark brown to black in color with flavors malty, roasted and fruit. The bitterness was high.

Jan 23, 2017
4.28 by IckyT2012 from Florida on Jan 10, 2017
4.09 by yesterdayfaraway from Missouri on Jan 01, 2017
3.01 by mothman from Minnesota on Dec 09, 2016
3.76 by MGibbons from Maryland on Nov 06, 2016
4.5 by Casey3236 from Pennsylvania on Nov 02, 2016
3.52 by aaronyoung01 from New Mexico on Oct 13, 2016
4.21 by boogerisu from Iowa on Oct 10, 2016
Photo of BuccoFan
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
by BuccoFan from District of Columbia

Found it too sweet for an RIS, even one aged in barrels.

Oct 09, 2016
4.17 by NickyDee21 from Pennsylvania on Oct 02, 2016
4 by ipc2000 from New York on Sep 27, 2016
4.38 by vtmel82 from Virginia on Sep 25, 2016
4.25 by enelson from Illinois on Aug 07, 2016
Enlightened Despot from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 216 ratings