Today on the Daily Drop, I’m tasting Big Sky Brewing Company‘s Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout. This big bold Russian hits hard at 9.5% and has a bold dark colour to boot. A limited release, this Russian imported from America is a truly unique brew. Let’s check it out.
Dark in colour, thick in body, and has a dark caramel head that dissipated quickly. Looks almost like Coca Cola.
Sweet chocolate, rich cream, oatmeal, cheese, smoky, slight alcoholic tickle.
Smooth draw onto the tongue, where greeted with tiny sharp bubbles. Creamy thick body, finishes sweet. Mildly bitter aftertaste.
Smoky chocolate, coffee and cream on the nose, with a small bit of spice. It shifts quick and smooth over to a rich smoky but sweet body with more coffee notes and hints of nut and caramel. It finishes sweet on the back and delivers a decent hop kick with a liquorice essence.
Overall – Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout
Ivan may have been terrible, but his stout is quite well mannered for being 9.5%. There’s a lot happening in this lofty Russian imperial stout. It does seem to suffer an identity crisis between dessert and hors d’oeuvres because of the sweet and savoury flavours all standing tall. For some reason, there is a strange flavour in the smokiness, almost reminiscent of cigarettes. After the thought of cigarettes I couldn’t get the flavour out of my mouth. But it’s 9.5%… I’ll forgive it.
Imperial Russian Stouts began in Britain, and were shipped over the Baltic sea to send to the Tsar’s of Russia. It’s no wonder we like these when the weather is cold, as the style was favoured by the high courts in Russia where the weather is less than unforgiving in the winter. With that said, we’re looking at a big rich grain bill. Maris Otter base, chocolate malt, roasted barley, caramel malt, and likely some more speciality malts. Hops could be Fuggle, Golding, or other UK bittering variants. Heavy hopped at the beginning the boil, but no further hop additions afterwards.
Today’s Daily Drop is brought to you by the KGB.
Do you enjoy a delicious imperial stout? Is your father’s name Ivan? Perhaps you love drinking your beer from an ashtray. Maybe that’s not your thing, but I won’t judge. I’d love your words in my comments!