Pours a used motor oil black, with a very creamy quarter inch dark brown head that fades very slowly to a thin swirling cap and thick ring, leaving behind a thick sheeting of lace.
Smell; lots of dark roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. There's some hints of dark fruits, with raisins and plums. Some bitter hops are present, but not very strong.
Taste; the roasted malts and coffee flavors come out kicking, and then rolls smoothly into a nice, slightly sweet chocolate. Raisins and plums fade in to a good, mildly bitter, hop presence on the back of my tongue, with only a mild hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is full bodied and very smooth, with a drinkability that keeps me reaching for the glass.
I was saving this bottle to celebrate the birth of my daughter who was just born on 15 June, and then found out on the same day that I'm getting a promotion. I'd say this was a great beer to celebrate both occasions. What a great beer, this is my favorite RIS to date.
Dark brown, black in spots with ruby hints; the liquid plays the part of a big-ass stout rather well. Beautiful brunette foam, at the apex the head was perfect two fingers tall. I am impressed; I didnt expect such a big head plus head retention is excellent. The bubbles were slow to fade to a thin collar, after a few moments. The subsequent lacing was spotty and disorganized, not all that widespread. Overall, this is a handsome looking beer!
The nose is too soft spoken for me. I get hints of smoke first, some charred malts, and then some nice chocolate and caramel notes emerge. The fruitiness is a tad restrained; I can find some raisins and figs. Dry, the roast really is the focal point of the bouquet. IMO, this has a traditional RIS nose. Its not Americanized, so Dark Lord this is not. I love the hints of smoke and the kisses of charred and caramelized malts. The aroma is not alcoholic either. Impressed but I do wish the aromas were louder. The bouquet is inviting, nevertheless.
The palate is complex and very tasty. I had harbored hopes that Thunderhead had brewed the next Dark Lord or the next Expedition Stout. Trevor didnt. So what? How many beers are *that* good? Why should I compare? So what does this beer offer? I tasted ample roasted malts, with hints of char, coffee, smoke, and chocolate. The malt profile is dead-on for a traditional RIS. Luscious alcohol in the middle, warm with a smattering of spiced rum; well restrained considering the high abv. Mostly dry. There is a smidgen of dark fruitiness; brown sugar with some molasses in the background. The hops play the supporting well and they impart almost to flavors. Balance is excellent though; to me this how a RIS is supposed to taste. This is not the loudest or angriest or the most boastful RIS I have had yet I love it dearly. It tastes great, clearly it was well-conceived and aged to taste this way. I can knock that. Lovely.
Medium/medium-full in body, low carbonation, the mouthfeel is very relaxing but just a tickle thin for me. As is the mouthfeel works fine. Methinks this RIS would kill with cheesecake or with steak or as a nightcap.
Drinkable? Ah, yeah. Especially considering how well the alcohol is hidden. Yikes! Now that all is said in done I was hoping for more out of this beer. I have wanted to try it for over two years. I missed it on-tap two winters ago. I was very excited that it was going to be bottled. For $15 a 750ml, and the limited amount, Id say it is worth it. Only a bastard beer geek would be left wanting after drinking this. My parents were married. Yet I want more. I am the bastard. Damn me and my biases. I am shutting up. It is really good. Clearly the best bottled beer in Nebraska! ;-) I purchased it in Kearney, NE. I finally popped a bottle as a personal congrats to myself for getting my first beer article published. I finally got paid to write about beer! I am rambling maybe I am drunk. Yeah, maybe this beer is good
Presentation: 750mL bottle, hand-numbered 205/300, aged 2 1/2 years, corked and capped.
Thunderhead Russian Imperial Stout pours a pure, thick black color into my pint glass. Atop the completely opaque liquid sits a 1/2", deep brown head that soon dissipates. Low carbonation; no lacing. The aroma is a combination of huge caramelized malts, plum/raisin aromas; hop aroma is not as dominent.
The taste of this beer is truly amazing. All the flavors have mingled together to produce an exceptional result. Caramel and chocolate flavors, a hint of roasted coffee, lots of port-like plum and raisin flavors, and moderate amounts of herbal and pine hop bitterness. The alcohol, while evident, is not an overpowering presence. The mouthfeel is wonderfully full and thick, yet not heavy. Finish is smooth, with a sweet malt/plum aftertaste; just a touch of bitterness.
Overall, truly an amazing stout; if at all possible, find a way to try this beer. Thanks to stolee for retrieving the bottle from Kearney. I can only hope that Thunderhead will make this beer again.
This ranks as one of the best beers i've ever had the pleasure to drink. A friend and I popped the cork on this one last night after I brought it home from Nebraska.
Pours a dark brown to black with no real head and very little carbonation. Looks thick and great.
Odor is like heavily roasted malts, with an alcohol and chocolate undertone.
Taste is incredible. So smooth but with an ultra-roasted malt taste, toffee, prunes, chocolate. GREAT. No real perceptible alcohol taste, although you can feel your tongue tingling a bit as you drink. And it's definitely got a bunch of alcohol in there because just a little gives you a nice buzz.
Mouthfeel is incredible too. smooth and soft.
I could drink this all the time if it wasn't $15 for 750mL and only sold in Kearney, NE. Fantastic. My friend ranked it in his top three as well.