Moscow | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

64 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
First brewed as part of our 2011 World Tour series, MOSCOW Rye Russian Imperial Stout is a hefty, opaque black liquid that pours slowly and soulfully into your snifter. A high percentage of spicy rye and roasted dark malts create a dense, chewy yet elegant winter wonderland of flavors. And from AK we say: Let it Snow…in Moscow.

Added by Rifugium on 12-31-2011

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Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 279
Photo of LordChesterfield
5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Typical Russian imperial in every aspect accept for the taste and smell. It has a wonderful mix of oaky and floral smells and the taste is smooth and inviting. Notes of coffee, hints of molasses with a well integrated hop flavor, also a vague fruitiness. It has a very light aftertaste that only adds to the drinkability. It has a perfect level of bitterness. The alcohol level is dangerous as hell though, and isn't convenient for quaffing. Youz'll get drunk fast.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottles of this from Masterski and claaark13. Love this brewery and especially love their stout beer. Thanks heaps for the bottles of this stuff gents!

From a bomber into a snifter
2011 World Tour Series (see edit below)
Imperial Stout brewed with Rye

APPEARANCE: Pours out thick black, sludgy and syrupy, and yields a small, tight, creamy, dark mocha head that fades to a faint wisp and ring. Pitch black body, thick and viscous, with no carbonation evident. Splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving nice lacing down the glass. Head could be a little more persistent, but this is a thick, viscous, meanacing looking imperial stout. This is how the style should look. Take note beerworld.

SMELL: Nice nose with lots of roasted malts, dark, pure chocolste, as well as some coffee. More than this, however, a good dose of burnt, charred malts steal the show. This is a very bold, burnt stout. Love it.

TASTE: Very flavorful, with lots of burnt, charred, and roasted malt up front, as well as some pure chocolate in there as well. A hint of sweet cream at the swallow, then a huge and relentless finish of burnt and charred flavors, lots of pure, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, burnt espresso beans, and tobacco. Very flavorful and plenty of charred, burnt malts, much like some European examples of the style. Might be somewhat too burnt for some people, but this one is right up my alley.

PALATE: Full body with modest levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Just a touch of heat lingers on thise one. Very full, creamy, viscous, with just the right amount of heat. Just awesome.

OVERALL: This might be the best beer of the year for me. It's really European in its flavor profile, with charred, burnt malt aromas and flavors that rival any big De Molen or Mikkeller imperial stout. The quality that brings this one to the next level, however, is the feel, which is thicker, creamier and more viscous than its European cousins. This is one hell of a beer and I'd love to see it come out again, or even put in barrels some day. Thanks heaps for this stuff guys, and anyone who knows me, don't be afraid to drop one in my lap. This really is a world class beer. Highly recommended.

EDIT: Drank a batch two against the original 2011 batch one last night (5 Feb 2014) and they were both fantastic. The 2011 is bolder, slightly more charred with a hint more bitter chocolate than the newer batch, but both are world class. Even after all this time, I still think batch one deserves the 4.88 I originally gave it.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.71/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured at cellar temperature from a bomber into my snifter.

When I poured this beer, even the thin stream flowing out of the bottle appeared almost completely black. This is definitely the blackest beer I've seen. As it pools in the glass, delicate sheets of fine brown foam swirl mysteriously across the surface, accumulating into a small, dense head which fades pretty fast. Just beautiful.

The smell has qualities of sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and rich coffee. Smells like the most awesome chocolate dessert ever.

It tastes much like it smells, with the chocolate and coffee coming through, and a roasty, charred aftertaste. There is also some smokiness that reminds me of my family's Alaskan smoked king salmon (just the smoky taste, not the salmon taste). The rye this beer was brewed with is pretty subtle at first, but really comes through a lot more as it warms.

This stuff is thick! Like, NOTICEABLY thick. Very viscous indeed. But this is welcome, as it makes the beer feel substantial and enhances the richness. The carbonation is right where I want it.

Moscow Russian Imperial Stout is out of this world! There are so many dimensions to it... And 11% ABV? I was much too busy being seducted by this black, bodacious brew to notice that at all.

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Photo of lsummers
4.61/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours like motor oil. Black and thick as can be with a dark chocolate frothy dark head. One of the best looking beers I've ever seen.

Smells of cocoa beans, raisins, burnt dark chocolate and a touch of coffee. There's a slight nutty toffee note. You can almost smell the creaminess.

Taste hits with the burnt roasted cocoa beans and transitions into a more raisin and burnt caramelized brown sugar sweetness. Ends with some great dark chocolate aftertastes. Roasted caramel malts mix in throughout.

Mouthfeel is fairly viscus yet moderately carbonated. This is perfectly balanced on the tongue and maybe a bit too drinkable for the abv. Not a bad thing though.

Overall, This is a top Russian Imperial Stout. A definite try and retry. Can't wait to find this again.

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Photo of Tony49er
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

*As a side note I did not have this exact beer I had the Rye Barrel Aged version of this*

Serving type- On tap poured into a snifter glass

Appearance- Dark black almost sucks you into it its so dark, some brown head but not much

Smell- Epic, Rye bourbon notes, chocolate, coffee/ espresso, taffy notes as well just a sweet smelling beer

Taste- Rye, bourbon, dark chocolate, coffee/espresso, taffy notes, a little hint of oak in the back of the tongue

Moutfeel- Thick solid stout mouth feel very smooth taste in the mouth

Overall- I have been looking forward to trying this beer for a long time and I was able to try the Rye Barrel aged version and it is awesome

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Photo of John_M
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Talk about a pleasant surprise... on tap at the Apex yesterday.

The beer pours a blackish brown color, with a creamy, coffee colored head. Retention is very good in tihs beer, and it has a viscuous look about it. The nose is equally impressive in this beer, as I pick up considerable milk chocolate, light coffee and vanilla, and maybe a hint of caramel, along with an interesting rye component as well. I wasn't really sure how well the rye would work in an RIS, but it's not bad at all (probably helps that this is a terrific RIS), and adds an interesting aroma (and flavor component) to this beer. The flavor profile replicates the nose very closely, though there's an interesting hint of licorise and hoppy bitterness as well in the finish that I like. Mouthfeel is fairly full, and the beer has a long, soft creamy finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, and there's really no hint of the 11% abv.

An altogether excellent beer from Midnight Sun. Glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of maximum12
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to HuskyinPDX for this bottle. When I saw it was coming out again I was like "Dawg, big stout, rye, wassup? In like Flynn." 22 oz. bottle with an amusing AK saying on it split with my wife.

The pour is just the color of the devil's soul, with a strangely persistent head that refuses to lie down & die. Even the nose is thick, roast, sweet malt that borders on maple syrup, & a whiff akin to black licorice. Smells like a beast.

Moscow: a beer I can't review, because I only have use of one hand while repeatedly slugging it out of the glass. A sweet, mild smokiness greets the palate with a high-five, then sweetness sweeps me off my feet. The rye comes as a mild spiciness that lends depth & brightness in the middle of the darkness, really goosing the stout. Dash of hop bitterness & licorice closes things out. Big, thick, oily, & creamy as hell. Yet I could drink it until Beelzebub rang the dinner bell...though I supose I wouldn't be allowed to enjoy anything this fine.

Wow. All I can think is, Victory! Adding the rye to what is obviously a fine base beer was a stroke of dark genius. This is an excellent beer that could hold its head high among the elite stouts in the world. I miss you already.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.49/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

No bottled-on date, but purchased at least a year ago.

A - Bowling ball black body with a 1/2 finger of dark chocolate colored head. Nice retention and ok lace.

S - Sweet seeded pumpernickel rye bread, raisins, molasses, chocolate graham cracker, gingerbread batter, and prunes.

T - Really interesting. A roast-forward take on an RIS. Dark roasted coffee and burnt rye toast blanket over sweet molasses, caramel, gingerbread, milk chocolate, and burnt toffee. Nice, bitter woody hop character on the backend.

M - Full, smooth body. Creamy finish.

O - An outstanding flavor profile. Great balance, but a little bit better integration and this beer would move from outstanding to world-class.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours like motor oil. Black as a Kardashian heart and thick as hell. A dense milk chocolate colored head wells up immediately, leaving a beautiful, dense blanket of tight bubbles. This might be the darkest head I've ever seen. This beer means business.

S: Big and roasty aroma. Wet earth, charred wood, peat, espresso and some faint milk chocolate sweetness. Liking it.

T: A big pop in the mouth of roasted and charred malt right away. Burnt oak, a quick hit of smoke, and some charred espresso. So much roastiness and it is awesome. There's just a touch of spiciness from the rye as well as a respite from the roasted flavors in a flash of milk chocolate and molasses. Finish brings some dark coffee grounds and a lingering note of rye. The mouthfeel is near perfect. It's dense as hell, with an almost milkshake like consistency, coating every inch of your mouth with roasty awesomeness. I've had stouts far higher in ABV, but this mouthfeel is up there with the thickest of them. Amazing stuff.

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Photo of ccrida
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark with a super dark tan head, thick and creamy.

Smell is super dank and deep dark malts, nice roast, chocolate. Really grows in appeal as it warms, without getting too sweet, extracty. Maybe a flutter of lactose, but if so, it's executed with a deft hand.

Taste is also super rich and chocolatey, this is a really nice RIS. The rye provides a really nice touch of spice. The roast is not overly strong, but lingers very pleasantly.

Mouthfeel is super thick, creamy and soft, like an RIS milkshake. The extreme viscosity is well served here.

Drinkability is very god. It's an excellent RIS, with the rye providing a nice little punch of extra. Do I want another? Hell yes. Today? No way. And that's alright.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Belmont Station.

Pouring an impressive black with a dense, dark brown head that's thick, creamy and long-lasting, this is a gorgeous RIS. The lacing is decent too. The nose has in incredible amount of rye up front, but it pairs very well with the heavily roasted grain character. Roast, mild char, unsweetened cocoa, a little bit of smoke, along with a little bit of spicy anise and a touch of fennel. Pretty excellent.

The palate opens with a big, bready rye flavor along with an excellent stout base. This is not a plain-vanilla RIS, this is a well-done RIS. Unsweetened dark chocolate, smoke, a mild but perfectly balanced ashy/grainy acidity. The mid-palate does have some sweetness, but it's more along the lines of a blend of buckwheat honey and pumpernickel bread. Mildly spicy as well, with a little bit of fennel and some anise and even some licorice. Full in body (does the rye add to the silkiness I feel?), soft and creamily carbonated, this beer finishes with a blend of grainy bitterness, a little bit of burnt grain (but no acrid notes) and a nice rye flavor. Alcohol is very well-hidden too. As it breathes, it gains a mild vinous character. Very good, this is highly recommended.

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Photo of oceanman907
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Brewery, 12oz

This beer looks epic in the glass with a slight brown head, but the kicker is the way the liquid sticks to the side of the glass when you are drinking it. the smell is inviting with baking coco, some dark fruit, and a rye spice. The taste is quite bitter for an IRS to me, but not hop bitter, bitter coco flavors dominate with a bit of rye in the finish. the mouthfeel is very viscous like an IRS should be, not as much as the other MS Berserker... but close. Overall a very gorgeous beer that delivers on all the IRS flavors, with an interesting twist.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a couple bottles while I was in Anchorage. Opened this on 6.14.12.

A - Pours a super thick, viscous black with a two inch dark brown head that very slowly fades.

S - Rye, chocolate, coffee, and some booze.

T - Lots going on here. Coffee, lots of malty-rye and chocolate-booze.

D - Good carbonation and super heavy and thick body.

O - I love MS stouts, and this one is up there. Lots of rye, chocolate, coffee and booze.

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Photo of JohnnyP3
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber. From the label: 11% ABV, 45 IBUs. A Russian Imperial Stout with rye. Part of the 2011 World Tour series. Poured like motor oil--pitch black, viscous, and with minimal carbonation. Only a thin cap of foam covering the beer. Completely opaque, like looking into a black hole. I don't think I have ever seen a beer as completely pitch black as this one.

The smell consists of some chocolate or caramel malt, dark fruit, and some alcohol heat. I'm also picking up roasted malts and or coffee beans. Also, something that reminds me of charred wood.

Taste up front is a mix of roasted/chocolate/caramel malts and dark fruit flavors such as plum, raison, fig. Black licorice. Moves to a bit of an alcohol burn as it goes down. Very earthy with some leather and oak towards the back end. Tobacco flavor lingers towards the end as well. Very complex flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is very thick and substantial. Yes, you can chew on this one as you contemplate the different flavors. Light carbonation and smooth as velvet.

Overall, this is one heck of a substantial brew. Heavy, potent, and packed with a broad spectrum of RIS flavor. Very tasty and nourishing. Don't plan on doing anything productive after you down a bomber of this beer. Have a nice afternoon nap.

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Photo of draheim
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a deep, dark, oily pitch black w/ a 1-finger reddish brown head that sticks around, settling to a nice cap of foam.

Aroma is chocolate/cocoa, deep bitter roasted malt, dark fruit, molasses.

Taste is likewise a complex blend of dry cocoa, roasty malt, and bitter chocolate. Alcohol well hidden.

Mouthfeel is thick and coating, viscous, but still somehow manages a semi-dry finish.

Overall a really outstanding RIS, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of Treebs
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Tnudish for this rare Midnight Sun tick. 22 oz. bottle served in a Portsmouth tulip.

A: Pours a dark dark black. Did I mention it's dark? Light wouldn't even go through a thimble of this stuff. A very deep brown head forms on the pour and it recedes to a thick dark ring that leaves sheets of lace on the glass.

S: Light rye spice up front with toasted malts, raisins and figs and deep dark chocolate.

T: Nice rye and wheaty spice up front with heavily roasted malts, some anise, and heavy dark fruit with raisins and fig in the mid palate. As it warms more of the dark chocolate comes out with just the slightest bit of char as well.

M: Heavy and chewy with an oily and viscous mouthfeel. The carbonation is medium to low, but it has enough to keep you the beer interesting on the palate.

O: This beer was delicious. Heavy and viscous just like an IRS should be with a incredibly complex flavor profile. I really enjoyed this beer and would drink it regularly if it wasn't so rare! Chalk up another winner to MS.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.36/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass.

Aoppearance: Opaque black body with a heavy dark tan head in the beginning settling quick. It was originally over a finger's length. Looks stunning.

Smell: Strong coffee and dose of vanilla bean. Very strong...the kind of stick aroma that stays with you for a while. /

Taste: Coffee beans that feel more like a full effect hit of espresso. A sweet bitterness to can taste molasses and a pinch of a unique sourness to it that becomes pretty addicting. Complex?, yes it is!

Mouth: Medium body with mocha finish. Sticky and hard to judge but the minimum rating is at least four and a quarter.

Overall: Raw quality beer, Midnight Sun Brewing has established itself in it's own class with the last couple of brews I have had from them. This brew is at the top of the food chain when compared to others, if I see it again I would definitely grab another bottle. Salud!

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Holy shit opaque black, tinted through the glass with dark green, turquoise cobalt hues. Chocolaty low brown head on the border.

S: Affirmatively chocolaty, thick, boozy, malty, bready, and then signicificantly punctuated by spice that blows you back down.

T: Boozy, roasty, rye spice that pops almost like hops, but steals away any malt sweetness that would otherwise be felt during that time. Pretty unique stout with the strong punctuation from the rye coupled with mastery viscosity amplification here.

M: smooth, coating, surfacting, complexly mercurial until drowned completely. Alcohol does detract significantly after no long time.

O: Unique for sure, very satisfying and worth aging, revisiting, and drinking frequently. Looking forward to sharing this with the lower 48.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tnudish for the share. Served in a Kuhnhenn goblet.

A - Dark mocha foam settles to wisps, a collar, and a glass-coating brown film. Very dark, opaque and solid, black body.

S - The rye is front and center, and it's supported by charred malts, bitter dark chocolate, smoke, yeasty bread, and a hint of booze.

T - The taste is quite similar, with a heavy doses of char, rye, roast, dark chocolate, and so forth - very little residual sugar. There's a mildly fruity yeast character that combined with the intense roast is evocative of Scandinavian stouts. Wrong side of the Baltic Sea, I know, but much closer to European stouts than American ones.

M - Smooth body, melted chocolate, texture, viscous and chewy finish, and lower carbonation. Some moderate warming alcohol, so this is definitely a sipper.

D - A very nice RIS, and completely different from Midnight Sun's other offerings. It's like they made a very nice Mikkeller beer, but without the oppressive burnt flavors in the finish. This should age quite gracefully.

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Photo of atalayafr
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep french press dark but with obvious texture. Really dark! No head.
S-Mild rye, gentle alcohol. Pleasant.
T-Quite a bit more rye in the taste than was present in the smell. A bit more alcohol on the tongue and moderate alcohol effervescence as well. A subtle hint of cherry.
M-Buttery but not slippery. Starts slick but becomes drier once the rye and alcohol land.
O-A pretty pour. So dark there's some trepidation to it. But it's not overwhelming in rye or alcohol and mouthfeel keeps it drinkable. A good Russian Imperial Rye!
S-22oz Bottle

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Photo of Gmann
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black color with a dense reddish brown head that settles into a light cap.

The aroma is quite meaty with plenty of soy notes. Molasses provides a deep sweet aroma. A subtle hint of smoke and charred wood. A dark berry sweet sour note as well. Very nice deep aroma.

Big roast flavor with notes of burnt coffee. Scorched caramel and molasses and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Plum and carob provide a sweet and sour note. Not much smoke in the flavor but still quite woody. Light anise. Big RIS flavors.

The feel is thick with soft carbonation so it has a smooth feel. Sweet and bitter on the palate. Sticky and chewy in the finish.

Very good stout. Big and bold and what an imperial stout should be.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

bomber into a shaker

extremely pitch black pour, massively dark with a nice dark brown head. smell is chocolately and the rye notes come through. taste is extremely chocolatey at first with DARK bittersweet chocolate and then the rye comes through and is very apparent and the beer ends with a big, big bitterness. grows on you and is very good if youre a fan of rye. the body on this beer is huge and thick and awesome, love it. carbonation is on point.

overall terrific..great job guys.

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Photo of ksimons
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-thick almost black pour with a fingers worth of dark tan head that leaves a ring around the top

S-rich malt, roasted dark coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and a bit of spicy rye

T-roasted malt, spicy rye, roasted espresso, dark chocolate. Alcohol gives a slight warming, but the 11% is very well hidden.

M-full body, light to medium carbonation, dry roasted, slight burnt aftertaste

Overall very flavorful RIS with a very nice rich body. Would happily drink this again.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: pitch black and dense; milky chocolate head dissipates quickly, leaving just a trace behind

S: lots of dark roasted malt aromas, suggesting ice cold, black, bitter coffee; sweeter hints of molasses

T: rich, roasty, drenched in wet dark bittersweet malt, drier wood and oak flavors, perhaps something like anise; what I presume to be the rye creates a deeper level with some chewy grain and earthy/herbal seasonings/spices; sugars wash in up front and then fade out, dry and mellow

M: dense, heavy creamy, full-bodied, no palpable carbonation, smooth and slightly coating, dark bittersweet aftertaste

O: warmed impressively - nice, mellow and smooth; bitters are dark and shadowy; the rye and perhaps whatever hops are used create a savory/medicinal component (and perhaps the abv shows a bit, too) - almost like a dark malt tonic - a very nice interpretation of the style.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours pitch black with a dark caramel colored head, sticky and a lot of legs.

S - Burnt chocolate, light char, dark roasted chocolate malt, molasses, light coffee bean aroma.

T - Light char, dark roasted chocolate malt, some coffee bean buried deep down, light spice, and very well hidden alcohol.

M - Thick and heavy body, robust.

O - Really enjoyed this one.

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Moscow from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 279 ratings.
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