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

very good
128 Reviews
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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Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 268
Photo of JohnnyP3
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a beer goblet. Pours a pitch-tar black with about 2 fingers of thick sand colored head. Produces some decent lacing on the glass. The head simmers down to a crown that nicely caps the RIS.

The nose on this is quite complex as it warms. Here are some of the smells I picked up at various points while making my way through the bomber: birch, smoke, honey, sweet malts, dark chocolate, roasted/toasted malts, tobacco, dark fruit (plum), leather, and some booze heat from the alcohol.

The taste is similarly complex and intriguing. At the start, I got some dark fruit, such as plum, raison and prune, followed up by dark chocolate. The dark chocolate is complemented by smoked malts and some coffee/roasted malts flavors. I think the birch syrup comes through towards the end. Finishes up with a mix of sweet honey-like flavors and bitter-sweet chocolate flavors. Some lingering smoke as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth as velvet. Medium-bodied and lightly carbonated. A little like syrup at the finish with some alcohol heat.

Overall, a very fitting brew to commemorate 25 years. Has a great Alaskan frontier taste to it. Drinks very well now and I plan to cellar several to taste over the next few years.

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Photo of arizcards
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber October 1st at Total Wine for $7.49.

Brew poured black with a nice brown head that has been leaving lacing behind.

Nose is slight hint of smoked malts and not much else.

Taste is dominated by the smoked malts, but is balanced nicely by a hint of sweetness and decent hopping.

Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped but there is a degree of smoothness that enhances the sipping experience.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew. The taste has that rough smokey edge to it. The alcohol is pretty well disguised.

If you like the RIS style check this one out!

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Photo of stakem
4.19/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to the generous JohnGalt1 for this as an extra in our most recent trade. Poured into a standard pint glass, this brew appears black in color with a dark tan head displaying a finger's strength atop. When held to the light, it shows a thin ring of brown clarity and ruby coloration more towards the middle. As the cap slowly fades, it leaves some patches of lace sticking to the glass. A rough swirl revives a quick dissolving head back to the surface.

The smell of this brew has an atypical sweetness about it that I can only assume is from the combination of birch syrup and the honey addition. That sweetness to the nose integrates very well with the overall roasted quality of the dark grains. It displays a strong coffee scent, chocolate and somewhat of a smoked aspect from the char of the grain. All the while, there is a bit of a dark fruited sweetness like plum/raisins/prunes included towards the back that integrates with a light touch of alcohol.

The taste of this brew runs the entire gauntlet of character forewarned in the aroma. The dark grain quality provides a solid burnt bitterness that is lightly smokey mixed with a strong coffee bitterness, unsweetened chocolate and a bit of licorice. There are some fruity alcohol esters present that provide a flavoring of prunes or plums across the backend. Throughout the experience, small amounts of birch flavoring are present which is a very nice touch that creates an interesting distinction for this brew.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is a well balanced offering that I found quite enjoyable. Off the top of my head, I can only think of 2 other brews I have enjoyed that had birch syrup included and I think this one had it included in such a unique way that it was subtle yet very readily identifiable (if that makes any sense?) This is worth seeking out.

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Photo of TCMike
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a very dark brown, bordering on black. The head was a dense, 3 fingers, and tan.

The aroma was of dark fruits, wood, and spices.

The taste is very similar to smell, but with the addition of alcohol, and sweetness. Thick mouth-feel, and low carbonation.

Good Ris. I haven't had many, but reminds me of Surly's Darkness.

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Photo of Satchboogie
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours black with just a little head.

S: Smoked malts, a touch of wood, chocolate, dark fruits.

T: Similar to the nose, chocolate with a good helping of dark fruits, light caramel, a little floral hop character. Lots of similarities to a BSDA.

M: Medium to slightly light bodied, moderate to high carbonation. Too thin and weak for the style.

O: Not terrible, but not all that memorable.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Look: Black as night with a 1/2 inch head and good retention

Smell: The nose carries some nice licorice and dark fruits

Taste: Plums and figs that a tad sweet present themselves right away the back end has a nice roasted malt character and a hint of chocolate

Mouthfeel: Is a bit thin and over carbonated for the style

Overall: The beer is ok right now but I think that this one will do well with some age. I bought 5 so I can try one every year on the same day just to see how the beer changes

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


A: Midnight black, with a dense and frothy cappuccino head. Some excellent lacing with uncanny retention, much like said cappuccino. Just gorgeous (gave this one a 5, and rarely do on looks).

S: Mocha coffee, some burnt malts, and caramel.

T: The birch and honey come through at first, fused with some very mild hop bitters. Toffee touches, a coffee core, and some woodsy, cedar-y lingerings. Wonderfully balanced and superbly mild.

M: The feel really follows the appearance; no false advertising here. And the feel is as great as the look. It coats, without oiling-up, and its subtlety is its strength. Another 5.

I truly enjoyed this RIS, and will go back to it.

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Photo of gatornation
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap in a 10 oz goblet

A- pours a nice dark black/brown color with a tan head and lacing

S- was roasted malts with chocolate, and faint maple syrup smells some cocoa

T followed the nose sweet toffee with semi-sweet chocolate,caramel and coffee note

M- was ok smooth with a sweet malt and syrup taste it was a bit thin an taste

O- a 25th anniversary brew that is good but not representative of that award its tasty and good but nit one i was wowed by

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a thick jet black with about a half inch of cocoa creamy head. light retention.

nose is a bit weak. some faint sweet dark fruit and roasted malt.

lots of roasted malt with a bit of a charcoal flavor. very faint syrup in here. nice sweetness though. faint alcohol. some bitterness.

fairly thick with a bit of bite from the carbonation.

not bad but could use some more depth and complexity. a nice try for sure.

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

22oz bottle poured into a HOTD tulip.

Appearance- Black with a small tan head. No lacing at all. 3.5/5

Smell- Earth and smoke notes with a maple center. Some roasted malt aroma as well. 3.5/5

Taste- Earthly and smoke flavors abound. Some earthy bitterness in the end. Bits of maple. Definite wood characteristics. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel- Medium to thick. I have had RIS that were thicker, but this isn't exactly thin by any means. 3.5/5

Overall- I didn't expect the smokiness. Don't really know if that takes away from this beer but I am not a big smoke in my beer fan. This is definitely interesting. The smoke flavor subsides after awhile (or I am getting use to it). 3.5/5

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