Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series) | Alaskan Brewing Co.

very good
268 Ratings
Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series)Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series)

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Alaskan Perseverance Ale is a Russian Imperial Stout. This style was chosen to celebrate our 25th anniversary of brewing on the Last Frontier in our coastal home of Juneau, Alaska.

Added by ArrogantB on 09-03-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 268 |  Reviews: 128
Photo of lackenhauser
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very, very dark in color-bordering on black with a decent sized tan head. Pours somewhat still but quickly becomes a nice, lively looking beer. Mild molasses and deep dried fruit aroma with notes of plums and port. Strong dark roasted flavors. A tad sweet tasting. Slight smoke flavor, an almost mesquite taste. Sharp hop and roasted bite in the finish. Nice and smooth body-again a touch sweetness. The roasted grains and smoke quality leave a slight dryness but it is still more sweet then dry. Really an enjoyable beer. Complex yet basic for my money. Makes no bones about what it is trying to be. Yummy.

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Photo of Zorro
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown colored beer that is essentially light proof. Tall brown colored head.

Smell malty with lots of patent malt in the smell. Chocolate and coffee aromas. Herbal hop aroma but not one I can ID.

Starts out sweet and creamy in the mouth. Lots of patent malt flavor with a spearmint flavor. Tasty chocolate flavor, despite the strength of this beer it tastes like a Milk Stout with about 1/2 this alcohol level.

Mouthfeel is good, but not as thick as it seemed at first.

Overall this is a damn tasty beer. Body could be thicker but I would not hesitate to buy and drink this again.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 11/12/11

Inky brown pour; not quite black in the glass. Cherry singes around the edges. One finger cap of foam doesn't last long; a thin layer and collar retention remain. not much lace either, save a drippy trail across part of the glass.

The aroma is rather sweet. The honey doesn't seem distinctly appreciable, but there is a tangy, herbal sweetness that I'm chalking up to the birch syrup. Dark roast sits underneath with hints of chocolate and toasty grains. Hint of earth and wood. Not much booze at all.

The base stout is a bit more assertive to taste, but the additions still obscure it too much. Roasted chocolate and coffee bitterness provide a much needed dryness, lest the sweetness of the birch and honey residuals totally take over. I find that the flavor blend together a little better as it warms. As with the nose, the abv is pretty much hidden.

The feel falls somewhere between full and medium, perhaps a bit more toward the former; perhaps. Nimble viscosity. Carbonation is a bit higher than I prefer, but it calms a bit over time.

Perseverance isn't bad by any means but it isn't amazing either. I'll have no problem finishing my half of the bottle.

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Photo of hardy008
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with a two finger foamy tan head with good retention. The aroma has dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, cocoa, and molasses.

The flavor is sweet and has dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, cocoa, and molasses. The dark roasted malt provides some bitterness at the end for balance. Nice flavor.

Smooth, creamy, medium to full bodied, and lightly carbonated. I am glad that I have another bottle to look forward to. Well done.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Alaskan Brewing 12 oz glass. Pours a slick black, with a nice two inch mocha head , that hangs around for some time before it settles in a bubbly film. Very attractive lacing, not a ton of it, but what sticks is glorious. Smell smoked chocolate, with some dark fruits, leather,vanilla, and some booze. Taste is all of those things, maybe some carmel and liquorice. Body is a little thin and good carbonation. Easy to drink for it's abv. Not the best, but a nice stout. I have smoked porters coming soon, excited. This was my first experience with Alaskan Brewing.

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Photo of isualum12
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm. I am mixed on this beer. Pours beautiful. Read head Smells high on the bourbon. (notice I didn't say smoke.).
Taste. first bourbon and chocolate. By the fourth drink I am left with smoke. Not a lot but smoke for sure.
Mouthfeel is thick with high alcohol.
Overall it is not a big fav. Of mine. I'm glad we got it but I wouldn't get it again.

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Photo of kkipple
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I fought my way to Total Wine in the dark and bought this here bomber, because I like Alaskan beers, generally. Poured into a wine glass.

A. Heavy and dark, nearly black. Dark tan head lingers, no lace.

S. Quite interesting on first, and subsequent, sniffs. First up you get a sweet and dense malt bill, with blended carob and smoke - immediately Alaskan's own smoked porter comes to mind. There is a pervasive heavy sweetness - perhaps the honey? And while I've never had birch syrup, by itself, the comparison to Life and Limb are fair. There is certainly a dense, sappy note here. It's all lush and heavy, and there are no hops to be found. I like the way Perseverance smells - this is something to drink outside while the snow comes down.

T. Hmm, a woodsy brew indeed! I feel like this beer will get misunderstood a lot. Maybe it's just because I drove through a sleet-storm, but this hits the spot. This is a roast-forward stout with a lot of adjuncts. The heavy roast and warming booze hit first, and then the sweetness comes in waves, which I suspect is almost exclusively from the honey and birch, and not the grain sugars. Father in, we find some molasses, dark sugar, an unusual, sour-sweet note, and more of that woodsmoke promised by the nose. There's almost a tart cherry-berry, but fortunately it goes well with the smoke. I imagine this will age quite well. It would be marvelous with some sort of gamey red meat.

M / O. Heavy, as expected, but with a surprising fullness. I'm not sure the expansive carbonation works well for this beer, I would have preferred something a little more reserved... Perseverance tastes good, but a bomber alone was a bit of a chore. As befitting the name, I toughed it out and saw things though. I'd like to age one of these for a few years and see what happens. This may not be a great beer, but it's got panache. Not bad, Alaskan.

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Photo of litheum94
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep, tar black body, with a quarter inch, brown head. It disappears quickly, leaving a pile of foam in the center with trailing 'arms.'

Molasses and sweet fruit aromas of pears, presumably from the fireweed honey. Some banana esters as well. Milk chocolate with a subtle roastiness.

Roasty malts with a slightly sweet, woody flavor from the birch syrup. Dry with lots of carbonation. Dark fruit with some honey sweetness. Chocolate and coffee tones finish out the flavors.

A decent beer. The honey is a nice touch, and the birch syrup makes this drink a bit like Life and Limb.

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Photo of 100floods
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick viscous black hue with a mocha-tan head that quickly turns to a fine lacing around the rim.

Notes of honey, coffee and a little bit of wood. Thick, sweet and roasty. It's aroma maintains a good, heavy stout smell with the infusion of the birch syrup and fireweed honey adding a floral but earthy experience. Notes of coffee grounds, too.

It tasted much like advertised. The birch and the honey play nicely together and work just enough with the roasted aspects of the stout to not come off too sweet or roasted. Slight hints of resin and espresso creme. An earthy sweet note in the finish. For the amount of sweet flavors present this is surprisingly not sugary, which definitely helps in the longevity of my drinking this, rather than tossing it out. This has an approach similar to the Scandinavian use of herbs and what not. I'd say the addition of birch syrup is the standout feature. It adds a uniquie woodiness that compliments the body of the beer. My only real criticism of this beer is that roasted malts kind of distract you from the birch and fireweed. It also adds an acidity that while isn't unpleasant to the pallet, again distracts you from the beers finer points.

While in the end this is not quite as extraordinary as some would think, it definitely puts the guest ingredients to good use. I could see maybe drinking another bottle of this, if someone brought it to the table.

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Photo of MrTopher
2.96/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I think I am thankful I just bought 1 of these, because it was a bit of a let down. But I’ll let my review speak for itself.
Served from a 22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A – Dark rich mahogany brown approaching the color of black, but not close enough. Some really small brown bubbles resonate and gather on the edge of the glass. It sure looks beautiful.

S – Sweet smells, but nothing that really dominates over it, there is a very mild roast smell. Overall very disappointing, was expecting something from the description on the bottle.

T – Super sweet, and this could have come from the addition of the honey and the maple syrup, but also could have come from the malt. There is some roast/smoke on the tongue as well. But then there isn’t really anything more, I was left empty inside wanting/expecting more from this.

M – Thinner than I was expecting from a big stout like this. Carbonation was good.

O – I wouldn’t buy another bottle of this, I was left empty inside and wanting more. Alaskan could have nailed this, but I think they just missed it by a hair.

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Photo of flexabull
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the local Alehouse.

Pours a deep flat black color with a pretty nice tan head.

Aromas are of smoke, dark chocolate, black coffee, and brown sugar.

Taste is similar to the nose, lots of complexity. Creamy, dark sugary sweetness, bitter dark chocolate, a definite smokiness, and hints of coffee. Finish is warm, with some mineral pine like bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and pretty full bodied, could use a touch more thickness perhaps.

Overall, a very complex and tasty Russian Imperial Stout, hopefully this one shows up in bottle in town, I'd like to grab a couple for the cellar.

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Photo of ales4baldo
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation-Nice bottle with a timeline of special releases on the side. The picture seems like a cabin close to the Alaskan mountains. Makes the beer look old and classic.

Appearance-A midnight black. Seems to be thick and has a pour that seems to look as if your pouring out melted silk. Seems to have very little carbonation as i got almost no head on my inital pour. Theres also a small amount of bubbles that seem to arise.

Smell-My initial smell was that of a camp fire smoke. I was able to smell slight notes of the birch syrup, not much, and some vanilla, very little though. Bubbles were present as little bubbles arose to the top. Also maybe a black roast coffee as well.

Taste-On my first sip i tasted dark chocalate. Somewhat that of a candy bar or melted chocalate. It was as rich in the birch syrup as i would have thought but you can taste it for sure as well as stints of vanilla. Traces of dark plums and raisins were present. You start to taste the after flavors of a dark bold coffee.

Mouthful-Its pour can be deciving as you would think this beer is thick. On the contrary i didnt think it was so. The stout was mild and the silk like caress of the stout sat nicely on the tongue. When going down it was as if melted silk was going down and the bubbles were an added touch to add more volume. The draw seems to be lingering, leaving you ready for another sip.

Overall-A nice simple stout. I would drink it again and plan on getting one to age throughout the months or even year. The sweets in the bottle, such as the byrch syrup and vanilla notes seem to be more present and you finish the bottle. This beer meshes well for not being so heavy and as strong as i thought it would be. The good thing is that this beer wont leaving you feeling full like a lot of other stouts.

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Photo of mkotsayfan
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a dark black with a mocha colored one finger head. The aroma has lots of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts, with a hint of syrup. The taste has some more chocolate and coffee, along with a smoky character and honey. The mouthfeel is medium-thick bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, a solid RIS from Alaskan, but two things keep it from true glory: the finish to the taste is a little too prickly, and the taste just doesn't have enough kick. But it's still a solid effort.

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Photo of claytong
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - black with a dark mocha head. heads about 2 inches off a somewhat rough pour. nice sticky lacing

smell - dark malts, roasted coffee, birch syrup, pine resin (might be the birch syrup), bitter honey

taste - much the same, a bit odd pine syrup.

mouthfeel - a bit sticky in a not so nice way.

overall - not sure i like the birch syrup in there. certainly interesting though. give it a whirl.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Belmont Station 10/21/2011:

Pours with a gorgeous, deep black hue with a phenomenal oatmeal head that sadly dissipates a little quickly into a nice sticky lace.

Smells like a good, yet typical stout: lots of coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts.

On the palate more of the roasted notes but a faint whisper of black fruit coming through.

Here is where the beer shines, on the palate it is pure velvet. The texture is lush and liquor like without any heavy alcohol notes. Really fine finish that comes off with some hints of bitter tannins.

Overall I really enjoyed it, though I don't really see this as a Russian Imperial Stout, just more of a very good, high quality stout somewhere between a regular and an Imperial stout. If they can get the nose and the palate going a little more then I think they have a winner. But it's hard when you compare to Old Rasputin and other RIS.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hadn't seen this in town, and actually picked this bottle up at "Craft" in Reno Nevada, and packed into my check luggage and had a few days later...then I saw a few cases at the local Total Wines down the road, all well.

Review from notes.

A: The beers a near black, or cloudy mahogany brown, with a quarter inch of bubbly, creamy head, cappuccino brown head, that leaves light bubbly lacing as it dissipates.

S: Initial scents are of light smoke, medium roasted malt, and mild cedar wood.

T: Initial draw up front is a potent flavor of Maple, must be that birch syrup, followed by a layer of honey, brown sugar, ending with a kiss of coffee. Some residual heat, but it's fairly well blended into the flavors.

M: Light to medium carbonation, light oily consistency texture, thougha bit thin for RIS.

O: Solid, and enjoyable. Different spin on a RIS, and with some time, say 6 months might develop into something. Congrats 25 years to Alaskan Brewing Co.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Very dark black with only a tiny bit of brown color on the edge of the glass. Solid three fingers of tan head that fade into a thin patchy layer. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: A fairly sweet smelling stout. Big aroma of chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malts, and syrup with some hints of dark cherry fruit and plum. Also some hints of honey, grassy hops, and anise.

Taste: Pretty sweet and roasty like the smell leads on. A good dose of dark chocolate, coffee, dark caramel malts, and toffee. Good hints of syrup, honey, and dark cherries with plum. Light hint of spicy anise. Finishes with a light hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full bodied although slightly lighter than a typical imperial stout. Carbonation is moderate. Very creamy and smooth. No sign of the alcohol.

Overall: A very solid stout. On the sweeter side with the syrup and honey but complex enough to be well balanced.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Do I need a spoon for this one? It looks rich, thick and black. Edges are cola colored. Off-brown head is thick and rich. Lacing is thin on this one.

Aroma is dark. Dark plum, dark molasses, dark malts, dark leather, dark thoughts. Some herbals. But...magic marker hints come and go. A quick whiff won't detect it, but I'm a sniffer.

A bit of woodiness in the taste. Of course, the dark stuff dominates. Some herbal spice, but mostly dark dry chocolate, molasses, some vanilla. That magic marker is stronger here and is off-putting to me. Maybe age would calm this down, but for me, 8oz is enough. Too bad, cuz I enjoy the other flavors.

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Photo of jdense
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle shared with Tyler at Barley Brown's, 10.17.11, poured into shaker pint glasses.

One finger brown head, quick dissipation with broken layer retained on topic of dark brown body, above average lacing. Nose is muddled, probably due to funky ingredients, had to take a real deep whiff to pick up any chocolate notes, sweetish. Taste is very very sweet for style, chocolate doesn't come through until far into back end, some citrus hops, and most unfortunately, a bit of ash, like rolling around a chocolate in an ashtray, ugh. Mouthfeel is very watery, thin at best, not much effervescence. IMO pretty bummed that this was their 25th anniversary beer, wish they had amped this up ABV-wise or better yet an Imperial Smoked Porter-now that would have been nice. Might benefit from extended cellaring, not sure that will benefit the weak mouthfeel. Sadly, we didn't even finish the bottle.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Rob for the sample. Thenpour was black with a nice cap of mocha head, decent lacing. Smell was quite light, subtle roasted malt if was forced to say something. Taste was quite heavily roasted with additional flavors including raisins and chocolates. Body was on the lighter side of medium, in fact, too light. Overall I'm glad to have tried it, but Alaskan has some further work to to make a world class RIS.

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Photo of Docer
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: (4.5)
- Lovely thick fingers of mocha colored head.. slowly builds up the glass to a point of foaming over. Settles with lace all over the glass to a thin foamy pillow above a very dark stout. Solid jet brown brew which can't be seen through. Very pretty stout.

Smell: (4.5)
- Sweet and grainy chocolate, coffee, and light syrup.. all melded very well. Grassy bitter hops with a slight pine and fruity flare. Hops shine, but don't over do the stout. This smells very good.

Taste: (4.0)
- Lovely sweet chocolate grains, light coffee bitterness, and a fantastic blend of woody syrups. Nice earthy grassy hop flare, and certainly not overly sweet. Nice subtle honey touch as well to it. This puppy is well balanced, and delicious.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Slightly dry but not dry enough for me. Perhaps the sweetness is at fault for that from the syrup and honey. Medium to heavy bodied, well carbonated, and a tad chalky. Overall not too sticky sweet at all.

Overall: (4.5)
- This is a very solid beer, and most likely the best that I have seen bottled from Alaskan. It is very well balanced, and dangerously smooth. A very good job on this one. It's not too sweet, and not too heavy. Certainly a must try.

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Photo of Domingo
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like pouring a glass of molasses. Very, very deep brown, ultra-thick, and dense. The head is a bit off-white and has a bit more staying power than many others. This is on-point thus far.
The nose is very sweet and you can get a bit of the birch note from it. My wife thought it was like nail polish remover, but I didn't get anything bad here. Mainly just big dark malts, a bit of birch, and sweet fruits.
The flavor is similar, although as it warms that astringency starts to creep in. Chocolate malts, cherries, and a little bit of that birch-beer creaminess/herbal note. However after a few minutes I get a bit of turpentine that throws a wrench into things. It's not all encompassing, but it does take what would've been something pretty good and hurt it a bit.
Mouthfeel is par for the course and the carbonation is better than many other examples. No problems here.
The old "drinkability" rating would've been pretty low here as this one starts of solid and falls off quite a bit.
Seems a little like a poor man's version of their old Baltic Porter, which I enjoy.

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Photo of broken22
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours out a dark brown. A nice creamy head forms that it tan in color. The smell has a nice roast character to it that really dominates so I cannot distinguish any other characteristics about it. The beer has a distinct roasted character to it with some sweat flavor. I'm really having a hard time pulling out anything else. The beer has a very little carbonation and the beer feel on the thicker side.

Overall a nice tasting beer. Nothing to out of the ordinary or extraordinary about the flavor. I would buy one again if I saw it. Its just a nice easy tasty brew.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this after having a sip at a tasting & wanting more. Popped open & split into a couple of glass slippers.

Pour is dense black. The stink coming off the still, windless surface sink-smoke, chocolate, & a distant whiff of highlands flowers. Mmmm. Don't step on them.

Alaskan Perseverance Ale makes me want to find out what a fireweed honey is & get some for the shelf. It lends this big stout a distinct smokiness, though no fire, along with a nice floral sweetness. Big black malts, too. The honey is gorgeous. Roast & Hershey's Kiss slither along the edges & add to the sweet-kiss of the brew. The honey really lingers beautifully. Flat, little to no carbonation, but the beer doesn't need it. As it warms, this one really open up, like a pollinated flower.

Wasn't wild about this at first, but it really needs to sit for about 10 minutes, then the unusual honey really changes this for the I'm sorry I only bought one, I'd love to see what time does to this one. If I see another I'll grab it. Excellent beer.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle split into a pair of large snifters

Pours tarry black with little (almost no) head, lots of slow active carbonation. Smell is rich and dark, cherries and coffee and chocolate, maybe some black licorice.

Taste is surprisingly licoricy, I think. Otherwise, fairly mild. More of the cherry and chocolate, but not lots.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, surprisingly light. Overall, it's a decent beer.

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Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 268 ratings.
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