The Russian
2SP Brewing Company

The RussianThe Russian
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2SP Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #176
Ranked #3,228
4.22 | pDev: 6.16%
Feb 26, 2021
Jul 22, 2015
The RussianThe Russian
Notes: The beer that put Bob on the map. Huge beer with a ton of espresso in the nose and pallet. Heavy chocolate and heavy roast. GABF Gold Winner 2016, 2017.

50 IBU
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.25 by SiepJones from Pennsylvania

Feb 26, 2021
Rated: 4.02 by Duncian from Pennsylvania

Feb 10, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by Patches826 from Massachusetts

Jan 30, 2021
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Reviewed by Gajo74 from New York

4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours a pitch black color, opaque and viscous. A creamy finger nail length head retains well and yields lacing.

Nutty and roasty aromas evoke espresso and dark chocolate. In addition, there are aromas of vanilla, caramel, dark fruit and bright notes of cherry.

A creamy opening highlights a great balance of sweet caramel and biscuity malts, to go with roasty and nutty malts. Notes of dark toasted malt, espresso beans, bittersweet dark chocolate and a touch of dark fruit. Earthy and woodsy hops flavors pair well with the roasty bitterness, while a developing dryness in the palate aids drinkability. The finish is roasty, dry and slightly sticky.

Full bodied with a very creamy and smooth feel that coats the mouth. The gentle carbonation adds to the overall velvety quality of this beer.

This is quite a tasty RIS! It is super smooth and well balanced. I liked it a lot.
Jan 02, 2021
Rated: 4 by jschott75 from Illinois

Dec 20, 2020
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Reviewed by JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
A pint can poured into a clear glass liter mug shows The Russian to be a rather darkly complexioned fellow. It poured like most good stouts, black coffee brown with ample tan head and some glass lacing. There's enough roasted malt aroma to make this promising. It's a promise fulfilled as several layers of flavor introduce themselves to the taste buds. It has a very nice solid texture that brings the sweetness of the alcohol and malt to complete the the bitterness of the hops and resultant roasting. There are reminders of black licorice, some black coffee and maybe a little sweet dark chocolate. The body adds tremendously to the mouth feel and the taste experience, with only a pleasant reminder that it is an alcoholic beverage. This is a superb Imperial Stout.
Sep 14, 2020
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Reviewed by MacMalt from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Canned on 1/10/2020. Poured into a snifter. It pours ink black with a large, foamy, light khaki-colored head and thin, soapy lacing. The nose features roasted malt, char, tobacco, burnt espresso, bakers chocolate, and a whiff of dark fruit. The taste opens dry, roasty, and bitter with burnt coffee grounds, earthy char, tobacco ash, and burnt nuts. As I sip I begin to taste the bakers chocolate and subtle notes of raisin and figs and just a tiny hint of caramel. It finishes with lots of bitterness. The mouth feel is silky and moderately viscous with an appropriate level of carbonation. This batch has an ABV of 9% which, for the style, is not overly boozy. I'm reviewing at about 8.5 months, which shouldn't bee too old for a RIS. I'd like to try it fresher to see whether the dark fruit is more prevalent. That said, this is very good and it's not surprising the brewery has won awards for it. If you like a dry, bitter Russian Imperial Stout, then I would heartily recommend The Russian.
Aug 30, 2020
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Reviewed by dennarb from Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
This is the richest most complex stout I have ever had. The color is a well made espresso that is just about opaque. The head is short lived. The mouth feel is like a well aged port, unusually dense without feeling viscous. The taste is hard to define. it is malty with more dryness than sweetness. Chocolate, but 80% fine dark chocolate. Espresso flavors creep though but they are complemented by some dried apricot and a bit of spice.
All told a fabulous stout!
Jul 02, 2020
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Reviewed by Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
(16 oz can, 9% ALC BY VOL, COD 011020; purchased single off shelf... poured into a snifter)

L: ultra dark brown liquid - thought it might be black, but to an angle, definite brown tones; finger-high tan foam stand on pour, foggy cap left

S: heavy roasted barley essence, char, black chocolate, heady pungent pine and spicy citrus hops... damn thing smells a lil like Storm King... mellow-to-beaming perfumy floral back note... bit of licorice and prune in the back... maybe a medicinal booze undertone; powerful aromas, and an overall American angle to it

T: curious, surprising toasty honey-nut edge to its robustly-roasty, heavily-malted foundation; bit of that dark fruit, vinous, brandy-like spice in the aftertaste, with an underlying blackstrap-infused, dark-roast coffee syrup lingering at the floor of the palate; mellow burnt ember smoke hanging in the back of the palate

F: viscous silk up front, with an unmistakable strident blast of cold ethanol behind it... malt nectar, but without sludge or slick residue

O: kind of a classic American (Russian) Imperial Stout; vintage flavors - love it... seriously though, is this a Storm King clone? - either way, reminds me of the old guard craft (1665)
May 14, 2020
Rated: 4.4 by PaulSlazinger from Pennsylvania

May 07, 2020
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Reviewed by Apple78 from Pennsylvania

4.98/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
This is as close as a perfect beer that you can find!
Poured a pitch black with one finger of head. The roasted malts are incredible. The deep rich flavor is world class. This Russian imperial Will take you on a roller coaster!
Apr 11, 2020
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Reviewed by cjeep from Pennsylvania

4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
yes, it's a total winner. find it fast, if you can.
L: big, bad, and dark. nice looking head that quickly dissipates.
S: not getting too much - maybe i have a cold. some espresso and chocolate. bit of hop bitterness
T: ok, totally blown away. very dark chocolate. espresso. rich hoppy bitterness. incredibly delicious.
F: smooth and rich, like it should be.
New addition to my regular rotation. This is one awesome beer.
Mar 15, 2020
Rated: 4.2 by Skabiski from Maryland

Mar 14, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by ajdemma from New York

Mar 14, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by paulish from New York

Mar 02, 2020
Rated: 4.34 by Dougwillhike from New Jersey

Feb 17, 2020
Rated: 4.12 by walt5 from Delaware

Jan 20, 2020
Rated: 4.47 by Budlum from Maryland

Dec 21, 2019
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Reviewed by ovaltine from Indiana

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
This pours black, with mahogany colors on the edges, and a rich tan head on top. The nose is a Rubik’s Cube of RIS aromas - spin the glass one way, there’s rich dark chocolate notes, twirl it another way, you get coffee. Give it the hydron accelerator treatment, it’s packed with molasses notes.

The molasses and dark chocolate are most prominent on the taste, but there’s also some coffee notes. Just a flavor masterpiece. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, as expected.

It’s easy to see why this won Gold twice at the GABF - there’s massive flavor, which are balanced exquisitely, and that’s packed into a 9.5% ABV package. What a magnificent example of the style.
Nov 25, 2019
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Reviewed by superspak from North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Got in a trade with larryi86. 750 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of vanilla, licorice, raisin, prune, fig, date, smoke, charcoal, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/black/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of vanilla, licorice, raisin, prune, fig, date, smoke, charcoal, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate pine, herbal, grassy, peppery, roast/charred bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, dark bread/crust, vanilla, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/black/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a fantastic hop/char bitter/sweet balance; and no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness. Medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/bready, and fairly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is fantastic. Slight lingering resins though the glass. Mild increasing warmth of 9.5% after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Russian imperial stout. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/black/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV, with the mellowly bitter/charred/drying finish. Amazingly soft/silky feel for the ABV, not overly bitter/charred. Amazingly well rounded rich dark/black/roast/bready English malts; great earthy hop presence/balance, and restrained fruity yeast. Light residual sweetness with lingering hop/char bitter dryness. A highly enjoyable offering, and amazingly spot on style example. Reminds me of North Coast Old Rasputin a lot, but way toned down on the bitter hops.
Oct 02, 2019
Rated: 4.42 by Curt3 from New Jersey

Aug 15, 2019
Rated: 4 by shigg85 from Japan

Jul 15, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by teamwiggum from Wisconsin

May 11, 2019
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Reviewed by rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
On tap, poured into a 10 ounce tulip glass.

L---Dark, opaque brown color. Medium, off-white head that had ok retention and good lacing.

S---Roasted/lightly burnt malts. Coffee & chocolate are dominant.

T---Coffee is most prominent. Chocolate is sweet, not bitter. Vanilla is in the background.

F---Rich & creamy. A lot of ABV hidden in that creaminess, though. More carbonated than I would've guessed for a high ABV stout.

O---This is quality stuff. As serious a RIS as you're going to find.
Dec 15, 2018
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Reviewed by CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
L - 2-finger mocha head atop a dark dark brown body.

S - roasted malt, caramel, chocolate.

T - bitter roast, dark chocolate, caramel, molasses, a touch of anise. Moderate bitterness. Low sweetness. Moderate-low booziness.

F - medium-full body with appropriate carb.

O - a bitter bugger, but on point for the style.
Nov 22, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Oct 29, 2018
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Reviewed by dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Undated bottle into pint glass. (Won it in a bet last January, so it's been in the fridge for at least 8 months.) Pours a very-dark-but-not-quite-black brown, with a light tan head. Initial impression is rich, smooth coffee and dark chocolate, with a hefty dose of roasted malts. Not sweet. Mouthfeel is just about perfect for the style, as is carbonation. Alcohol is noticeable but not intrusive. Finish is fairly dry, with bitter dark chocolate and black coffee dominating.
The bottle instructs you to enjoy at 45-50 degrees, and they're right- the flavors really pop as it warms. Excellent RIS.
Sep 02, 2018
Rated: 4.07 by arrowsmith_ from Pennsylvania

Jun 19, 2018
Rated: 4.38 by Samputnam14 from South Carolina

May 29, 2018
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Rated by TheWolf from Delaware

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Worthy of the hype
Mar 18, 2018
Rated: 4 by dsshuck from Delaware

Mar 15, 2018
Rated: 4.15 by BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

Feb 10, 2018
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Reviewed by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A - Pitch black and thick toffee lacing and light carbonation.

S - Chocolate and cocoa cream.

T - Burnt chocolate, cocoa cream, some char, nice lingering bitter Baker's Chocolate.

M - Full bodied with light acrid presence, very dry on the back of the tongue.

O - Fantastic Imperial Stout.
Jan 14, 2018
Rated: 4.1 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

Jan 14, 2018
Rated: 4.08 by TomMorris from Connecticut

Jan 08, 2018
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Reviewed by jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
750 ml capped bottle

Pours black in color, dark tan colored head. Roasty aroma, coffee and bitter cocoa. Bold, yet well balanced, not too sweet. Thick, full bodied.
Jan 01, 2018
Rated: 3.9 by KAP1356 from Pennsylvania

Dec 28, 2017
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Reviewed by richj1970 from Alabama

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from 750 ml bottle with no visible date.

A: Dark brown tending towards black with 1-2 finger light tan head. Last retention with nice chunky lacing.

S: Rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Hints of coffee and licorice.

T: Classic Russian imperial stout with bold roasted malts, baking chocolate, vanilla, and hints of espresso. Perhaps a touch of anise.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Fairly high carbonation for the style. Creamy texture with a slightly bitter finish.

O: I can see why this won the gold medal at GABF. A world class RIS for sure! Big thanks to @larryi86 for the chance to try it.
Dec 25, 2017
Rated: 3.85 by Gmartin75 from Pennsylvania

Dec 23, 2017
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Reviewed by thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Dark brown with two fingers of slow-forming, but long-lasting, light tan head. Leaves sheets of lacing.

Classic roasted malts aroma with hints of chocolate and maybe even cherry behind. I'm getting a little more than usual carbon dioxide off the head as well.

Delicious tasting. Rich, chocolatey roasted malts. A hint of plum or prune. Maybe some anise. A creamy, almost vanilla-like sensation lends a touch of sweetness. Then a nice bitter aftertaste evoking hops, baking chocolate and espresso.

Medium-to-heavy bodied with strong carbonation and moderate creaminess in the feel.

This one is a real pleasure to drink. The carbonation is a tad high to my personal taste, but the bitterness of it is just about perfect.
Dec 10, 2017
The Russian from 2SP Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 85 ratings