Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged | Big Sky Brewing Company

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2006 - 8.75% (draft only)
2007 - 8.75% (500ml flip top bottles ~ very limited)
2008 - 9.5% (750ml - capped - 1152 bottles)
2009 - 10% (750ml cork and cage)
2010 - 10% (750ml - cork and cage)
2011 - not brewed
2012 - 12.2% (750ml cork and cage)
2013 - 13.8%
2014 - 11.5% (750ml cork and cage)

Imperial stout aged 4 months in freshly dumped American oak Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

65 IBU

Added by Bitterbill on 11-10-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
280
Ratings:
814
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
10.28%
 
 
Wants:
801
Gots:
277
For Trade:
22
User Reviews
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Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 814
Photo of spicelab
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2010. Props to Mr Kennedy for sharing. Reviewed from notes.

Dark molasses with a beige head of mostly fine bubbles. Leaves decent lacing as it gradually falls in on itself.

Lifted and refined aromas of raspberry, dark fruits, cocoa, vinuous oak and molasses.

Taste articulates the same blend of mildness and satisfying complexity. The dry woody character from the barrel continues to cut through the sweeter, richer cherry-ripe and coconut flavours.

Amazingly clean and uncannily light for a RIS. Buzzy carbonation dusts the palate and transitions into a dry finish.

Excellent RIS. Impressively approachable, in contrast with the more hulking RISs (not that I'm at all averse to them). Feels a little ironic to rate this highly for being unlike what I expect from a RIS, but whatever. A great beer, only lacks the high-end wow-factor.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received a bottle of Ivan the Terrible 2013 as a gift, and finally finding a worthy night to open it, I found it had a near perfect appearance... It's color, the deepest brown, and a thin layer of froth over top of it as if it were espresso, it's a Russian Imperial Stout through and through.

The aroma is rich with the scents of baker's chocolate, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, and cinnamon. A truly enticing bouquet indeed! After a healthy taste, I found the beverage to feel smooth, yet it was a little spicy as well. The bourbon barrel aspect was appropriately present in the foreground and meshing well with the finely crafted stout. The most remarkable thing about this beer I found in the finish. It had a very pleasing 'mineral water' hint, accompanied by a very slight anise element.

Ultimately, I would place this in the upper echelon of barrel aged stouts, and that is really saying something, considering the fine examples of such I have already experienced and reviewed.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

2010 bottle #3401 of 3800

A- Really nice looking stout, 2 finger frothy beige head, dissipates slowly, really nice dark brown lacing, pitch black opaque motor oil color.
S- Very nice aroma, vanilla upfront, oak, really nice bourbon comes out sweet caramel, really well balanced aroma.
T- Similar to the aroma, bourbon upfront, sweet vanilla, this is a rich beer, toffee, caramel, oak, roasted malt, hints of dark fruit (plums, raisins), slight alcohol burn as it goes down but nothing to overpowering. This is a very tasty beer.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, well carbonated, sticky, smooth drinking, dry finish.
O- Very impressed, I’ve been holding onto this beer for a while and finally decided enough was enough. Really enjoyed this now I only wish I would of opened this with a friend to share the goodness.

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Photo of Luk13
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small sample at Hill farmstead gathering. I really liked this stout. The usual american imperial stout (chocolate, coffee and hops) but there was an awesome malt fruity profile (blackberry, plums, figs and dark cherries). Full bodied and solid overall.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the events of the Wood Age..

Darkness is spreading! If you look into this glass carefully, you can see your soul being sucked out of you. The foamy brown sits atop, as if its a comfortable place. But, tis a lie! Put not your nose in there!
Oh, shit, I did. Big roasted malts and chocolate, alcohol, sweet bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, sanctuary, lewdness.
The flavor is big and thick, burnt sugar and bourbon start off with the sweetness lingering before encountering some bitter dark grains, leveling off into a finish with the dates and more alcohol. My god it is outstanding. The flavors twist and turn as they play with each other, so drinkable, so terrible. Ivan, you are a man after my own heart!

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.82/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750mL bottle split 2 ways. 2010 vintage.

A: Rambunctious head, a full inch of fluffy cappuccino foam, after a glugging pour. Nice legs. Absence worthy black.

N: Bourbon, oak, prunes, chocolate. Slight roast and moderate licorice. Some soy sauce. Caramel and fudge - more of the wood and bourbon.

T: Oak, prune, raisin, fudge. Honey and low levels of roastiness. Espresso sweetened with two lumps of sugar in the grind. Very sweet, but it's not cloying as some of its competitors are wont to be. Hints of soy sauce. Hops are here with some earthy bite, but they mostly add balance.

M: Creamy mouthfeel which is on the lighter side of the spectrum. Lots of booze still.

O: A really well balanced and fairly delicate beer. Very enjoyable, and worth recommending.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Live review of 2010 bottle number 303/3800.
A: Opaque black with a tan head and some lacing.
S: Sticky sweet chocolate espresso, kind of like a subdued Bourbon County, nice maple bacon and raspberry puree, black licorice and brown sugar. Good.
T: Well-rounded vanilla, fruity berries, smokey pig, and chocolate. Kind of like a good chutney, where everything blends nicely. It starts off creamy and thick and moves slowly to a clean resolution with the lingering alcohol and smoke.
M: Creamy smooth to a nice clean feeling.
O: Damn good. Drinkable and balanced while also being full-flavored. Not as much of a bite as I'd like, but that's a matter of preference. I'd highly recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub & Herbs in beer haven Minneapolis this past weekend. Served in a nifty half pint, beer was a smoky ebony with minimal head, light mocha lacing. Nose was not overpowering, anise, dark chocolate. Taste- not all that thick, medium bodied, relatively dry and well attenuated. Moderate roastiness and overally just easy drinking for a RIS.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend got a bottle of this at Blue Palms once, and I didn’t get a chance to review it at that time, though I did enjoy it. This review is from notes from a bottle a fellow BA (thanks Skuter) brought to a tasting at Instant Replay.

A: The beer pours black, with a dark brown hue. A dark tan brown head forms, about a quarter inch, leaving some smooth lace.

S: Mocha espresso, cream, dark chocolate, light roasted malt, oak, vanilla, bourbon.

T: Mirrors the nose nearly exactly. Vanilla, cream, mocha coffee & cream, light oak, and roasted malt. Only slight variation from the aroma’s with some light brown sugar & caramel on the finish after it warmed a bit.

M: medium carbonation, light bitterness.

O: Good beer. I've had it at tastings, as well as by itself, and it holds up fairly well either way even against some stronger RIS.

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Photo of kels
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not sure who brought this to the Holiday Inn, but thanks:) Cheers, unclejedi, Joan, ftownthrowdown, RoyMunson and pwoods. Next time remind me to write this stuff down.

Pours a nice, super-dark brown, totally opaque. There's a little skim of brown bubbles with a bit of swirly brown skim on the top of the beer. There's really no lace to speak of.

The smell is full of nice, cracked coffee beans with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. A bit of the alcohol creeps through in the nose.

Taste is full of sweet chocolatiness and a little dry coffee grounds. The alcohol has a huge presence, but isn't overwhelming in a distracting or disappointing kind of way. The sweetness is added to by flavors of vanilla and sweet cream. The feel is moderately full and creamy, and the aftertaste is exceptionally dry for the style. The alcohol is present in the taste, and it adds a nicely warming dimension.

Drinkability is moderate at best. It is quite tasty, but the alcohol is also quite notable.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big 750ml bottle split with friends into snifters. Bottle #1573, 2010.

A - Black as night. Sandy brown head with good retention and lacing

S - Lots of oak in this one. Good accompanying bourbon and vanilla. Some molasses, leather and chocolate

T - Dark fruits (raisins, currants) balanced well with chocolate, vanilla, oak and toffee. The bourbon is well integrated and is accentuated by nice slight char. Very good beer and not intimidating

M - Very smooth and creamy. Impossible to pick up the ABV, very nice and balanced.

O - This is a great beer, 'nuff said.

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Photo of dlello2
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ivan The Terrible
A – Creamy, cloudy black with maybe even a hint of grey? Interesting. Few fingers of creamy, micro-bubble head fade slowly. 5.0

S – Bittersweet chocolate dominates. A suggestion of hops follows. As it warms the smell develops into a rich chocolate roastiness. 4.5

T – Immediately reminds me of Surly Darkness (which I haven’t had or thought about in a while… interesting). I’ll start by saying this is very good. Not super complicated (much like darkness) but what it’s got is freaking spot on. Perfect amount of roasty bitterness. 10% alcohol, but super drinkable. 5.0

M – Great full bodied mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Not as thick as a Ten Fidy or FIS. Goes down easy. Again, if it weren’t for feeling the alcohol I wouldn’t know it was there. 4.5

O – This was a great beer. As it warmed up it got even better. I can’t believe it but I can confidently say my first 10oz pour of this beer catapulted it into my top 10. Will definitely be seeking it out to try in the future. 4.5

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Photo of rudylaw
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009, corked & caged 750cl, poured into a snifter.

Pours a soul-sucking black with a lucious head. As pretty looking an RIS as there is.

Lots of vanilla in the nose. A little heat but this is very inviting!

Vanilla, chocolate pudding, bourbon, heat, dark fruit... oh man. This is a great example of a barrel aged stout. Not trying to kill you with complexity... just giving you what you want.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy... velvety and silky. Perfect. Good on you Big Sky... you made an affordable, delicious and near perfect BA RIS!

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Photo of tut2528
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First and foremost a huge thanks to Match1112 for this one!

A: the body resembles a black hole with no light penetration whatsoever. It creates a fingers worth of s tan colored head formation that has moderate density and thus moderate lacing. Nice carbonation as it takes very little to re-create the head.

S: oh wow. A huge oaky/barrel character, grassy hops, alcohol soaked dark fruits, big bourbon, leather, lactose/vanilla. Decently balanced, but not a huge fan of the hoppy presence.

T: again, big oaky, bourbon barrel character right at the front of this one. Slight chocolate and raisin presence. There is more of a smoked wood, presence here that was detectable in the nose. The hops are still present but definitely tamed back and actually adds a nice touch of complexity (really didn’t care for its presence in the nose). the finish consists of a quick blast of alcohol heat and a slight tough of vanilla sweetness that tries to tone the alcohol down but there simply not enough to do so.

M: on the heavier side of medium body. Has a higher carbonation that I’m used to in a barrel aged stout. Alcohol tends to linger on the palate with a slight touch of bourbon and oak.

O: solid bourbon barrel aged stout and thoroughly enjoyable. Cannot thank Match1112 enough for this one. truly a terrific BA.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black into a snifter, with a thin, tan head that dissipates almost completely, leaving some remnants on the surface. No light passes through this one, even when held up to direct light.
Nose is chocolate, butterscotch, bourbon, and slight alcohol. Delicious.
As is the taste. Slight chocolately bitterness is up front, followed by a nice bourbon/alcohol heat. Aftertaste is warm and complex; butterscotch definitely noticeable. Very well-balanced imperial stout--the bourbon is not overwhelming by any means.
Mouthfeel is just as thick as I'd want an imperial stout to be. Heavy and slightly oily, but with just enough crisp bitterness to balance it out.
This one is very drinkable. I finished this bottle with no problem, and while I doubt I could polish off another full bottle, another snifter of this one would be a perfect way to finish off the evening.
This is an excellent, well-balanced imperial stout- one of my favorites so far, and a great beer for my first review.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

In a pint glass September 26, 2015 2277 of 3600 2014 11.5%

Look - Dark brown with a lot of tan head. Thick bubbles. Lacing with the head. Lacing doesn't dissipate quickly. A lot of sediment in last pour.

Smell - Char. Bourbon. Cherry.

Taste - Bourbon. Chocolate. Char. Wine. Grape. Cherry.

Feel - Alcohol burn. Creamy. Not as carbonated as head hints at.

Overall - The wine taste surprised me and made it unique. Otherwise average.

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Photo of mdvatab
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 Vintage
Acquired in trade from nlabruyere.
Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter. Shared w/ Barfwin on homebrew bottling day.

Aroma: Cherry tartness, a touch of sashimi soy sauce, toasted vanilla, coconut, dried fruit, and milk chocolate. Out of this world aroma!

Appearance: Light tan two finger head with great retention. Espresso black body, and foamy lacing.

Flavor: Oaken barrel flavor (vanilla & toasted coconut), smooth, sweet and fruity maltiness. Very light, and masterfully-integrated bourbon. A grape juice note, followed by more coconut and vanilla on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation, medium-full body, and a warming feeling in mouth and throat after swallowing. (warming, but not hot or peppery)

Overall: One heck of a barrel-aged imperial stout! The coconut notes are wonderful. The beer is smooth with fruity sweetness, and overall complexity from the both the beer itself, and from the oak barrels. Very highly recommended!

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Photo of fiver29
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours pitch black with tan head. Aroma is vanilla, wood, roasty malts, and bourbon. Flavors followed the nose exactly. More wood, roasty malt, some espresso, bourbon, vanilla. Smooth roasty malts balanced nicely with vanilla and bourbon. Thick brew. I really liked this one.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle, #300 out of 4,200. Poured into a snifter glass

A: Pours a deep chocolate color with minimal head, which isn't all that surprising for a BA 12% beer. Some noticeable alcohol legs on this one.

S: Getting some wood from the barrel, almost a red wine smell from the tannins. Not sure what type of barrel they used for this, but if they used red wine barrel I wouldn't be shocked. Slight coffee and chocolate aromas waffling out as well.

T: Oak, chocolate, coffee with some slight red wine tannins characteristics. Creamy as hell. Fantastic stuff and exactly what I want from an Imp Stout. Though I am a bit surprised by the wine similarities.

M: Creamy, thick full bodied minimal carbonation with a very faint slight booze burn. Such a smooth beer.

O: Excellent fantastic RIS. Creamy and smooth that's not over powering on the wood or the Bourbon. Overall one of the best RIS on the market and nice random find for me in the store. Going back to see if I can snag another bottle!

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Photo of glazeman
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks goes out jcnd9803 for hooking me up with this in a recent trade. Split with airohead2001. Poured into a snifter. Hmmm...a stout that is corked and caged...interesting

A: Pours black in color with a 1.5 finger mocha head that has excellent retention and lacing.

S: Nice notes of chocolate and bourbon that are blended well, interesting and balanced. Deeper down there is some espresso and vanilla.

T: Lots of vanilla in the taste. A little sweeter than I had expected. Nice amount of bourbon at the finish. I didn't taste as much chocolate as I thought I would based on the smell.

M: Pretty good, though not quite as viscous as I would like in a big stout.

D: I would defiantly have this beer again. It was a very soothing drink on a cooler night outdoors at the start of fall. With that being said, I feel the drinkability is somewhat limited by the sweetness.

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Photo of tjkinate
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

A: 1+ fingered head formed atop this deep brown brew from a hard pour into a snifter. Head had decent retention settling to a thick foam that left some lacing in its wake.

S: Dark fruits, vanilla, hefty amount of bourbon with a pungent sweet caramel backbone.

T: The beer tastes nothing like it smelled, trust me, that is not a bad thing this time. Big difference is that the beer smelled so sweet, but doesn't taste sweet. I detected hints of light coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, pecans and chestnuts followed by bourbon undertones. Perfect beer for a cold winter night, or a warm spring night like the one during my tasting!

M: Medium bodied for the style, mild carbonation, creamy and smooth.

O: Fantastic brew that I will definitely be seeking again in the future.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A The first thing that jumps out at you his how dark this one is. In fact I held it up to the sun and it actually blocked the light. The head was brown with decent retention.

S The nose is full of oak and bourbon. With some vanilla and what might be a hint of fruit

T the taste follows the nose, with bourbon being the most noticeable. There are also notes of fruit, vanilla, and a woody oak note. There is also a noticeable alcohol note as well.

M The mouth feel is full, but not as full as usual for an RIS which still works well for this particular beer.

Overall this is a pretty good RIS, not the best I've ever had, and the bourbon might have been a bit much for the style but still a great beer overall though.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my snifter

Appearance is opaque black with a huge dense two and a half inch head. The head was mocha colored with good head rention and lacing clinging to my glass.

Smell consist of oak as a main aroma with bourbon soaked raisins and dark cherries. Underlying scent of plums and prunes. Milk chocolate with espresso, vanilla, and some roasted barley. Hop presence can be detected in the bitterness of the aroma. Overall great lavender type smell.

Upfront taste is a little bitter with barley and a dark chocolate taste. Pursuing is a taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, and a great oak presence. Midway plums, dates and a slight tart cherrie finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with average carbonation. Not as thick as other RIS, which I feel it needed.

Overall great beer and only complaint is I wish it had a thicker body.

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Photo of billyshears
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010
a: Lots of dense dark tan head. Black body with great lacing and head retention.
s: Dark fruits that come off quite sweet (almost sour); coffee roast and cocoa.
t: Starts off with a dark fruit sweetness and finishes with chocolate roast and char with some bourbon notes; all well integrated and comes together nicely.
m: Medium carbonation and medium mouthfeel (though maybe a bit light for a RIS); goes down smooth.
d: a sipper but actually quite easy to drink keeps your interest through; glad I got to try this. Solid brew.

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Photo of midaszero
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 707/1125

My bottles says 8.75% on it for the ABV

A - Completely opaque black body with two solid fingers of coffee colored head

S - Sweet malts, chocolate, and molasses. A definite pronounced bourbon smell

T - WOW it is like melted chocolate with bourbon. Some coffee notes as well and a tad boozy but overall amazing.

M - Medium thick body with medium high carbonation

D - Pretty damn easy to drink and extremely enjoyable. I can't wait to put some time on this and let it mellow some.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.
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