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

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Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series)Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series)
Very Good
269 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: 269 |  Reviews: 129
Photo of snaotheus
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
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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Photo of Klym
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stone nonic.

This was an upside surprise for me. Very, very classic-- almost generic -- RIS smokey and roasty flavors dominate. There's a slight honeyed, sweet middle. I wonder if a little bit of aging would do this well but either way, if you're itching for an RIS this wont let you down.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark black color with a very light dark head and some and some nice thin lacing. Nose is malty, sweet and very rich.

Taste is chocolate, smoke, bacon and sweet malt. There's a good sharp be on the back of the the throat, it's warm but not too hot. Overall an awesome beer!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich and black like the Alaskan sky in wintertime. Small tan head, looks the part of a big RIS. Aroma of mild brown sugar, deep roast, leaning chocolate malt more than anything else.

Taste, again, solid roasting, pretty easy to drink, hid the 9% nicely. Slick, creamy and coating, this is just as much an imperial milk stout as an ris. The birch/honey addition certainly smoothed this out I would think. They aren't noticeable so much in the flavor profile as opposed to the slick mouthfeel and hidden abv. Kinda like Melange 3, I don't get any of that syrup, birch or sap stuff, I just get a smoother BT.

Mild smoke notes if you look for them. A good beer, could have used a little thickening up I guess if you have to critique something or find room for improvement.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to cmrillo for sharing this one at the Down South Beer Tasting while aasher was in town to visit! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured pitch black with a minimal brown head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, toffee, caramel, subtle coffee, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, honey, dark fruit, and subtle sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I really wouldn't have guessed this was an RIS based on the flavor alone as it felt more like an Imperial Stout instead. The aroma however screamed RIS at the top of its lungs! This was a nice addition to an already great lineup that evening. However, the mouthfeel was a little thin for my liking when it comes to the style. Definitely worth trying if you get the opportunity.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a bubbly khaki head. Good retention and lacing. Fairly oily and viscous.

Dark roasted maltiness, woodiness (but not oak), molases and honey notes on the nose.

Nice bright robust flavor with pretty good balance. Notes of Rich dark malt, molasses, mild faint honey and wood.

Med-full bodied. Mildly viscous with a creamy mild carbonation.

Overall it's good. Not amazing like amazing as anticipated. I'd love to try with some age to see how it changes because there seems to be Alot going on in there and things haven't begun to harmonize IMO.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
2.94/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Collins pub.

A pours a thick black color with a thick mocha head.

S very smoky, reminds me off their smoked Porter and kills off anything else that might be there.

T again very smoky with some chocolate and a bit of roastiness.

M seems thin for an RIS.

Overall not bad but a little too smoky and thin for me.

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Photo of Coplains
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured fro a bomber into paint glass, shared a twenty two ounce three ways. Pours pitch black with a little of coffee colored head. Taste is really stouty malt with a little bit of what would be burnt sugar. A pretty good Russian imperial not my favorite of this variety but a solid offering from a really good brewery.

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Photo of soulfly1492
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Very bold. Dark roasty malts with some spices, anise. Some alcohol. Smokey.

Appearance: Amazing. Like nothing I've ever seen. Super thick head, mostly dark brown, some lighter tan spots scattered around. Excellent retention and lacing.

Taste: Semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, mild anise. Odd, but I taste some banana.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, super thick bubbles, not tingling at all. Somewhat dry.

Overall: Different than the average RIS for sure. Appearance is incredible, a sight to be seen. Taste is not quite as bold as it smells, but nice sweet malts and just a bit of bitter. Surprisingly drinkable.

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Photo of Phelps
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed in the style of Russian Imperial Stout -- because, you know, you can see Russia from Alaska -- Perseverance is made with birch syrup from Alaska Birch Syrup Co., fireweed honey from BeeAlaskan Apiaries, brown sugar and oats as well as Alaskan's famous alder-smoked malt (the same stuff used in their Smoked Porter, which has won so many gold medals it should be entered in the Olympics).

Along with the reasons above, the name comes from the connection between brewing and mining in Juneau. Early brewers in the city once stored their ales in the tunnels of area mines to sell to thirsty prospectors. One of the best-known of these mines was called the Perseverance Mine. Though it's now closed, Perseverance Trail still tops the lists of Juneau's favorite hiking trails.

Pour Perseverance into a snifter, and you'll find a brew black as an oil slick and topped with a small, dense head of cocoa-colored bubbles. The nose, sugary and rich, reveals a deep chocolate character not unlike black forest cake. Hints of anise, maple and wood smoke fuse with the sweet, malty notes. It's an incredibly smooth, manly scent.

Alaska birch syrup from Wasilla lends a deep, almost tart character to the dark malt profile, while fireweed honey from Delta Junction adds a delicate sweetness and floral notes to the aroma and finish. The slight addition of our in-house alder-smoked malt alludes to the distinctive roasted flavor of turn-of-the-century malting practices, without overpowering the more subtle flavors of this dynamic anniversary brew.

Given the glorious nose, it might seem at first blush the flavor will let you down -- it's not as rich as the aroma, and not as obviously awesome. Its greatness is subtler, revealed by more intense inspection. The journey begins with drizzles of melted dark chocolate, sweet and floral honey, and the birch syrup. The same flavors that make Alaskan's Smoked Porter one of the best in the nation show up mid-palate, the smoked alder wood blending with spicy anise notes and green hops. After the swallow, fruits emerge in the form of dark cherries and plums. The body may be a bit thin, but the alcohol is buried under a gold mine of flavor and is fairly undetectable.

Perseverance is a smooth, sweet, smoky stout. Though it's good now, time will improve it. Find a deserted mine nearby and store an extra bottle there for unearthing in a year. Your perseverance will be rewarded.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says "Stout brewed with birch syrup and fireweed honey". Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark coffee black with a half finger of dark khaki head, nice smallish bubbles which recede to a ring which persists for the duration of the glass. Minimal lacing.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate bar, slight floral honey, vanilla cola, and some roasted malt. Has complexity and balance.

T: Roasted malt stands out, as does a mild burnt espresso bitterness. I get a little syrup sweetness which quickly fades into an off-dry finish.

M: Medium body and slightly creamy and sticky. Medium-high carbonation gives this a little bite.

O: Pretty drinkable RIS with some complexity and balance in the aroma, less so flavor wise. Would be a pretty solid everyday choice.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz pour in a tulip shaped glass at Collins Pub in Seattle on 10/4/11.

Black, couldn't see any light passing through. Minimal head and lace. Strong banana bread aroma. Medium carbonation with a medium to heavy body. The flavor begins with a grape and banana presents. A fair amount of alcohol in the middle. Finishes nicely, roasted coffee and burnt sugar.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a dark brown/black with a big creamy tan head that retains fairly well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is very surprising for a stout - sweet floral honey with some fudgy chocolate and a bit of smoke. A little black licorice and roast comes out as it warms.

The flavor is sweet lactic fudgy chocolate and some smoke with a good sized roast bitterness in the finish mixed with some residual sweetness. As it warms the roast char bitterness starts to dominate the sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, an interesting stout. The honey and sweetness with smoke and roast was interesting.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep, dark brown; almost black. Poured a wispy dark tan head. Laced the glass in thin rings.

S: Rich toasted malts; molasses, dark chocolate and bitter coffee. A little dark fruit and earthiness in the backgroiund.

T: Very consistent with the nose. Rich and smooth. Earthy bitterness and warming alcohol work in tandem to cut through the bittersweet malt character. Prune/plum linger after the beer warmed a bit.

M: Medium-to-full body. Low-to-moderate carbonation. Rich and creamy. Relatively smooth up to the warming finish (though not dominating as ABV could indicate).

O: Plenty of big, rich malt character. Good, slow sipper.

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Photo of azdback
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Imperial glass. Dark black color with just the slightest of light submissive edges. Head is a massive three fingers and a dark brown or cocoa color. Retention is long and lace is stick in a large sheet pattern.

Smell is of burnt pete moss. Some roasted coffee and sweet honey.

Taste is a rich, malty, charred coffee delight. Smoke and sweet comes in, with a tinge of tartness of sweet cherries.

Mouth is rich and luscious. Creamy and full flavored to the end. Silky also comes to mind.

Overall I must say that this a pretty solid RIS. It is a bit different with the sweet honey and smoked malt, but that only makes it unique in an Alaskan way. I think anyone with access to this should try it.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Urge Gastropub
San Diego, CA

Black as can be with a thin chocolate milk colored head. Thin sheets of lacing left down the glass.

Mixed aroma consisting of espresso/coffee, some mild chocolate, lots of roasted malt, and a touch of sugar sweetness. Relatively standard "good" RIS aroma.

The flavor isn't quite as successful. While the flavor does follow the nose pretty closely, there's a bit of licorice flavor and alcohol sting that aren't all too pleasant and detract from the otherwise pleasant flavor profile.

Medium to thick bodied. Appropriate.

A decent big stout with some distinct flaws that really detract from the overall enjoyment and drinkability.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this one on tap this afternoon at Hops & Pie. At least I didn't have to buy the bottle. Poured an inky black color with an inch or so of medium brown foam on top. Aromas of roasted malt, mint and dry chocolate. On the palate, this one was fairly full bodied and medicinal, with flavors of roasted malt, honey and mint.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at URGE.

A: Looks like you'd expect, black with a creamy dark brown head. No surprises in this category.

S: An even blend of roast, dark chocolate, and molasses. The roast has a bit of char to it at times. I get a little coffee and a hint of smoke with some earth. Dark fruit reminds me of plum and prune.

T: Dark chocolate with a healthy dose of blackstrap molasses. There's a dash of licorice and a moderate roasted malt presence. Coffee is faint. There's a medium earthy bitterness. Alcohol rears its head in the finish. As the beer warms I begin to notice plum.

M: Full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy, chewy, and sticky.

Overall: Good stuff.

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Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge and interestingly fruity black ale. Nearly opaque with a modest tan head and pleasant carbonation. Quite prickly on the tongue, enhanced by the alcohol, no doubt. More booze in the nose but not so much fragrance. I'd like to think the birch syrup adds something but it's lost in the dark avalanche. Very full of burnt malt, though the honey seems to give it some balance. Hops, however, take over the aftertaste with a fairly ferocious bitterness.

This stuff tastes better at first sip with all the fruitiness. After a while it degenerates into charred raisin toast. A snifter is not really the ideal glass as you have to keep inhaling the peculiar smell.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review No. 200

22oz bomber of Perseverance Ale, Alaskan's 25th Anniversary RIS. Had this out of the fridge for 20 minutes or before tasting. Poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Jet black and opaque, with a large brown head (from an aggressive pour) that leaves spotty lacing throughout the glass.

S: With aromas of dry bitter bakers chocolate, coffee grounds and a moderate spicy hop profile, this beer smells like a textbook RIS, but there is a decent amount of wood-like smells present as well. There is a sweetness on the nose as well, not dark fruit but it could be the honey and other adjuncts; when mixed with the aromas of wood it's almost vanilla-like.

T: Woody roasted malts, coffee bitterness, hops and creamy chocolate, in that order. I might be imagining but I think I can taste honey, or something slightly sweet like it. Digging the hop profile & subtle coffee flavors but was hoping for a more robust roasted (or alder-smoked) malt backbone.

MF: Moderate body, with a decent amount of felt carbonation and finishing dryness from the bitter hops.

O: In general a good RIS, but slightly underwhelming for an Anniversary brew from a brewery that knows smoked malt (see Smoked Porter, Baltic Porter). Still enjoyable and very drinkable.

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Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the hanger room today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is complex and impressive in this beer, as I get milk duds, vanilla, licorice, light tobacco and leather. This beer comes across as a barrel aged oatmeal stout more than a RIS, but regardless, I thought this beer smelled and tasted pretty good. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this moderately sweet stout, though the licorice and leather are a bit more pronounced. Also, I get considerable honey on the palate as well, which make the melange of flavor all the more insteresting in this beer. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, moderatley sweet, soft and creamy finish. Alcohol is pretty well disguised in this beer, though you can tell it's up there.

Overall, I thought this a pretty impressive stout from Alaskan, one I wouldn't hesitate to order again. Lot of interesting different flavors in this beer...

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.14/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours thick and black. Head was a medium tan, light brown color. Retention was nice, and the creamy head left some spongy remains.

Definitely some honey, and a very slight smoke/char. Fair sweetness and roasted quality.

Much more roasted, with hints of chocolate and coffee, but more honey and birch syrup...though I think maple would have gone better. Very minor smoke if at all, which is a little disappointing. Just a lot going on it and it's not predominant enough to really make itself know. There's some alcohol heat too.

Average feel. It's a bit creamy, medium to full in body.

A bit let down by this at this point. I'll hold onto another bottle and hopefully time will do this well, cuz it's kinda a mess currently...

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Photo of DaveHS
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A-Dark brown with ruby highlights. Thin, almost nonexistent head. No lacing.

S-Earthy, woody syrup, wood smoke, booze.

T/M-Very boozy and dry. Tastes really young. Mouthfeel is oppressively dry. Hard to taste much else, unfortunately. I'm not getting any of the syrup, which is especially disappointing, considering how much it played into the aroma.

O-I won't write it off entirely, as I've found some of Alaskan's strong ales need a few months/years to reach their full potential. I am disappointed that this was released so young. I can't help but think that if they had let this sit for a few more months in the bottle prior to releasing it, they might have a better beer on their hands.

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Photo of thatruth
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz from the Beer Junction in West Seattle, suggested by Morgan. poured into pint glass.

pours a 1/8" tan head with moderate-to-heavy frothy lacing. pours a dormant root beer color into an opaque body with caramel tint. absolutely no light penetrates this beer.

smells of smoky firewood malt, pears, coffee roast, and as noted on the bottle: 'birch' syrup.

taste has a minimal lacquer presence that tends to override (or forebode) most RISs. damn malty, more smoky, chocolate taste than anything else. notes of honey, as mentioned on the bottle, are also present.

fresh, inquisitive on-bringing leads to a wet, fritzy finish. 9.0% alc./vol. hidden quite well, easy on the palette.

damn fine beer from Alaska for their 25th anniversary. hats off to them, well done.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting that I have to travel to Tucson to taste my first beer from Alaskan Brewing Company! And it was actually Alaskan Amber (keg) that I sampled first but it was at a business event earlier in the week where it wouldn't have been appropriate to step aside to properly review. However, I can say from memory that the Amber was delicious!

This brewery is onto something! They take a standard RIS and turn it into something special, something unique. It says birch syrup and honey on the bottle but I wouldn't have pulled those flavors out myself. All that I can say is that there is a moderate level of sweetness (good), interesting flavors (good), and very little hop bite (great!). There is a subtle bitterness, but it only adds to the experience.

Can't wait for a return trip to Tucson!

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Alaskan Perseverance Ale (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.84 out of 5 with 269 ratings