Brewdog: Old World Russian Imperial Stout (2013) (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 9.5%)
Visual: Black. Larger charcoal touched head than expected.
Nose: Roasted hazelnut. Milky chocolate. Some roasted hop character.
Body: Sour cherry tang. Milky chocolate. Cloying cream. Roasted nuts. Twigs. Slight pepper character.
Finish: Roasted nuts. Cloying cream. Bitter earthy hop touch. Slight cherry notes. Pepper.
Conclusion: Hmm, not bad. Wow, again I damn with faint praise huh? Ok, here’s the thing – in my youth this would have blown my little brain. Smooth chocolate, small tart notes, roasted character and that cloying cream back than I now associate with Bristol Beer Factories’ stouts. There are touches from so many stout styles all shoved into this one beer. Shown to a young me this would have a been a bowling ball of new experiences crushing my brain.
Nowadays? Well it is an above average Imperial Stout. I am so blasé. It is well made and I like that they have taken the cloying cream element and pushed it against the fruit like tartness. It pushes that element a bit further than most and gives it that bit more effect, which is cool. However despite that the base beer doesn’t quite rise to the occasion, it seems to be clamping down on those interesting elements rather than letting them shine.
I think it is partly because they are going for something closer to the more traditional Russian Stout style, which I will admit it does well. There’s earthy rough hops, that sour elements, and, while I’m guessing the smoother chocolate is more new Imperial Stout style (I guess – not a beer historian) it doers mostly trend towards the older elements. While I don’t complain about the more roasted and traditional elements I do dislike when they hide the cool tricks brought to the game.
Then again, I’m a blasé beer snob and alcohol aphorist. This is a good mix of old traditional and new tweaks, it just is far from the best. I am however glad to say that it would have blown a less blasé me’s mind. I’m just getting old it seems.
Background: This is not the original Old World Russian Imperial Stout, the original version was basically just riptide in a cooler bottle. This is a whole new beer, in a cool bottle. I had tried this on tap a while back and it didn’t really grab me, so the bottle languished in my cupboard for a while. However bottle and tap can vary so I dug it out for a try and a quick review. This was drunk while listening to Moonlight Sonata (1st Movement) Meets Metal, which was kinda cool. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers, or someone who can use a camera well.