Evil Czech Brewery
Stalin's Darkside (Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout)
Russian Imperial Stout
22oz, Single
Falls just short of a finger of extremely dark brown foam, even surface and pretty good retention for what's there to begin with, the lacing looks like those fireworks which cascade down like a willow tree. The liquid is a pure black without even a hint of brown or orange at the edges, impassively opaque. The nose does have a strong roast to it, however, the milk, lactose, chocolate, brown sugar to molasses elements douse the bite, the booziness is actually circumspect given the possibilities, licorice and bacon fat, not particularly fruity but at times there's something like fruit cake going on. Full-bodied, smooth in a velvety fashion and here too the booziness handled well. German chocolate cake, coconut flakes, carob, vanilla bean, Brazil nuts, croissant dough, and more licorice to cola bean. The roast elevates and scrubs the roof of your mouth like smoke rising. The sweetness of the flavors tends to mask the full impact of the barrel aging yet the overall mouth texture is dry, noticeably at the end. It never reaches back to throw the 100 MPH heat although it kind of makes you expect it will. But in no way a disappointment, just sort of mixed messages.
4 out of 5