Quick Take: Going into this beer, I had a good idea that I would like it. The base beer is one of my favorite Russian Imperials and few beers get worse when rubbed up against some bourbon barrels. With the confidence and craftsmanship to add woody vanilla and spicy, almost pepper-like heat to a near perfect RIS, Dark Horse’s BBA Plead hits huge and satisfies as a layered, full-bodied body warmer. Fantastic RIS and an all time favorite.
Quick Take: While 2014 Parabola is not the pinnacle of the Parabola series (that goes to the boozy complex and black cherry undercurrent having Parabola of 2012), it is an improvement over 2013, being smoother and less boozy. Warm, sensuous, delicious…Parabola is as close to bourbon-aged perfection that I’ve come across. Firestone has crafted and continues to craft one of my favorite liquids of all time.
Brewery: Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery
Style: Russian Imperial Stout (RIS)
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Availability: Various Times
Purchased@: Beer Trade Extra
Quick Take: Dark Apparition is in a different class of RIS, being a drinker instead of an intense sipper. It isn’t battling for the top spot in my RIS-loving heart, but I would gladly buy a case to get me through those fall evenings without hesitation. Dark Apparition is simply delicious and another reminder of why I love dark beers.
Quick Take: This is a damn fine beer that has some depth. It really reminds me of Founder’s Imperial Stout with toned down tobacco and intensified chocolate. I’d need to do a blind tasting to really determine which I prefer more, but Dark Horse has produced an excellent RIS that needs to be tasted. Really looking forward to trying an aged bottle of this (I have one from 2013, so it’ll be awhile) and making it a mission to have the bourbon barrel-aged version.
Brewery: North Coast Brewing
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Cost: $27 (16.9 oz)
Availability: Once a Year
Purchased@: Hunger n Thirst
Quick Take: If you, like me, enjoy Old Rasputin, you will absolutely enjoy the bourbon barrel-aged version. There is no question of that, but the cost versus quality is way out of whack. Without needing to justify the expense, I can easily declare this to be worth no where near the cost. If cost is not a factor or you can find this for less than $15 (I did see a forum post where someone paid $13.99), it’s definitely worth a try. While I find the experience to be lacking given the chalky finish and less than luxurious mouth feel, plenty of people will find this to be an enjoyable and very drinkable bourbon stout.