Yards Russian Imperial Stout

Before the wedding, Val and I spent a lot of time in Philly going to a jewelry store to get our engagement rings and later, wedding bands made. They screwed my band up, so I ended up having to get it remade and had to pick it up days before the wedding (not stressful at all). One day on the way home, we passed the new Yards taproom and Val stopped so we could try a few beers.

ABV: 8.2%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “You don’t have to go far to get away this summer. Our new taproom and brewery at 5th and Spring Garden Streets offers 20 taps of fresh, quality Yards ales and a full beer-friendly dining menu crafted by Chef Jim Burke. Get together with some friends and have a beer and a bite to eat outside in the shade of our towering steel brewing tanks. While you’re here, go on a tour to see for yourself how Yards beers are brewed, bottled, canned, and kegged for the good people of Philadelphia and beyond.”

Random: There’s no information about this beer on the brewery website because it’s a brewery only release.

The beer poured with a finger and a half of tan head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the tulip glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was filled with dark chocolate, licorice and booze. The taste had slightly more depth. It started with dark chocolate and espresso. It transitioned into burnt malts, licorice and leather. The booze wasn’t as apparent on the taste as it was the nose. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with dark chocolate. I thought this was a good interpretation of a Russian imperial stout that was worth giving a shot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0


Clown Shoes Ohio Unidragon (2016)

During my first trip out to Ohio, they had recently changed the ABV law and bars could now carry higher ABV beers. This resulted in even chain restaurants throwing on high ABV beers. Since I live in Jersey, this wasn’t a big deal for me, but everyone was going crazy for beers that we can get easily here. This beer is one that was created specifically for Ohio and due to the changes in laws in Ohio, they could finally put it on tap.


ABV: 12.5%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, this is only available in bombers, but I definitely had this one on tap.

Random: Watching people down full pints of beers over 10% was definitely interesting, although not recommended at all.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was strong with espresso and roasted malts. It had black licorice and smoke. Alcohol came through too. The taste started with bitter, black espresso. It went into black licorice and bourbon. Alcohol came through next with some wood ash and smoke. It had a thick and chewy body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with espresso and dark chocolate. I enjoyed this beer a lot, but if you get a glass of it, let it warm up for about five minutes before you start drinking it. It really helps to open up the aromas of the beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Rushing Duck Ded Moroz Imperial Stout

This is a beer that I picked up awhile back in New York. It’s also my first beer from the brewery. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 11.2%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Ded Moroz 11.2%ABV – Meaning ‘Father Winter’ in Russian, Ded Moroz, is pitch black in color. It is an imposing beer that is best enjoyed by slow sipping to fully soak up this beer’s complexity. It has a very deep flavor profile of dark chocolate, coffee, graham cracker, overripe fruit, amongst others. To add to its complexity, it is generously hopped with a large portion of imported British hops to balance the sweetness and keep it true to style. Ded Moroz is a decadent treat perfect for the cold winter months!”

Random: Val and I are watching the original “Ghostbusters” and the special effects are pretty funny.

This beer poured with a quarter finger of off white head. It dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body, as expected, was inky black with no visible carbonation. On the nose, I got a lot of dark chocolate and ash. There was also oak and dates. The taste started with a decent amount of booze and smoke. There was also dark chocolate and wood ash. The taste also had a decent amount of dark fruit that manifested with red grapes, figs and dates. It had a thick and chewy body with low carbonation. The finish was quick for the style with dark fruits. A bomber of this was $12.99, which broke down to $.59 per ounce. This beer was pretty good, but the darks fruits took away from the other flavors. I’m glad I tried it, but I wouldn’t rush back to get it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Demented Wrath

One of the more exciting things about living in New Jersey is all of the new breweries that are popping up. I haven’t gotten a chance to visit this one yet, but found a bottle of this sitting on a shelf at Canal’s.


ABV: 11%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We are a relatively new craft brewery in New Jersey. We are located in Middlesex, NJ and our production brewery consists of a custom 10 BBL brewing system with 2 10 BBL fermenters, 3 30 BBL fermenters, and 1 15 BBL bright beer tank. Hunterdon distributes our beers to over 250 bars and restaurants throughout the state. We produce a number of core beers, but our focus is on producing a variety of seasonally inspired ‘insanely flavorful ales’ that are on tap mainly in our tasting room. Thanks for checking in and please check back soon.”

Random: The brewery definitely picked out a cool name for the beer.

The beer poured with a one finger, loose, tan head. It dissipated quickly, but left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with no visible carbonation due to how dark the beer was. The nose had a lot of booze on it with cocoa powder. It also had notes of fresh roasted coffee. There was some oak and bourbon, but it was in the background. The taste started with the expected milk chocolate and roasted coffee note. Burnt oak and bourbon came through next. The booze was better hidden on the taste, but still there and created some warming on the back of my throat. I wish the oak taste was a bit more prevalent. The body was thin for the style with light carbonation. It had a long and sticky finish with cocoa powder. A bomber of this was not cheap at $18.49 ($.84 per ounce). I’m glad I got to try it, but it needs to be a bit more refined first.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Cambridge Brewing Company YouEnjoyMyStout

Today is my sister’s birthday. Almost every year on her birthday, it rains. Last year was one of the first that it didn’t. I’m not sure what her plans are, but hopefully she has a great day today. Anyways, beer time.


ABV: 10.5%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “THE CROWD GOES WILD! A smooth bass line of roasted notes establishes the deep end beneath arpeggios of complex chocolate malt, while power chords of caramelized grain open up to an extended malty jam. Black barley teases treacle character and wades into a velvety sea of oak-derived vanilla and toasted coconut tones. Sustained improvisation of fruitiness modulates to an intense finale, and encores with a rich, espresso-roasted reprise, a capella.”

Random: Val picked out this beer because she loved the label.

The bottle opened with a huge pop of the cork and it almost overflowed. The head was three fingers high and a light brown head. It took awhile to dissipate and left some lacing on the glass. The body was black and I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose was filled with burnt malt. It also had bourbon, vanilla, oak and a lot of smoke. Leather and tobacco came through as well. The taste was bitter with roasted malts and dark chocolate. There was tobacco on this as well. The bourbon came through at the end with vanilla. There was a lot of booze warming too. The body was weirdly thin with light carbonation. The finish was quick and astringent. A bomber of this was $12, which came to $.55 per ounce. I wanted to love this beer, but it was only alright.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Baltika Brew Collection – Russian Imperial Stout

This beer was one that intrigued me. It’s not marketed the same way as regular Baltika selections, and after reading their press release, I can see why. This beer is specifically marketed to Americans, thus the different labeling. I’d be interested to see if any other international breweries are doing this to cash in on the craft beer craze.


ABV: 10%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A new line of unique craft beer Baltika Brew Collection brewed specifically for export to the USA appeared on shelves of American stores. The craft brewery segment in the USA has been on the rise and continues its growth approximately by 12% annually…In its strive to meet present-day requirements, Baltika introduced to the US market two unique authentic brands of Russian beer from the Baltika Brew Collection: Russian Imperial stout, the stout based on a traditional formulation of the 18th century distinguished by strength and hop bitter, and Russian Honey Brown Ale, classic ale which flavor enjoys unfolding honey notes and scents of the Russian fields. Before the end of the year, it is planned to introduce the third beer brand to the American market, Russian Lingonberry Wit, wheat unfiltered beer with berry notes of the Russian forests.”

Random: I think that whoever writes their press releases needs to do a bit of editing.

This brew poured with a half-finger of khaki-colored head. I was surprised that it dissipated so quickly and it left no lacing. A crown was left on top of the black body. Due to the color, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose was pungent with booze, black licorice and dark, roasted malts. There was also a lot of wood smoke. The taste had bitter, dark chocolate and cocoa powder up front. Then, I picked up a lot of anise and black licorice. At the end of the sip, the wood smoke, ash and booze came through. You could taste every bit of the 10% ABV of this beer. The flavors on the beer were really sharp and disjointed when transitioning. The body was quite viscous with little carbonation. The finish stuck around forever and had ash and black licorice. I picked this one up for $2.99 ($.20 per ounce), but I wouldn’t have this again even at half the price.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Baird Dark Sky Imperial Stout

I’ve been making an attempt to branch out and drink more beers from overseas. One of the downsides of this is the price of the beers. They tend to be a bit more expensive than their American counterparts. So, I still end up with mostly American craft beers, but hopefully, you’ll see more imports in the coming weeks. This is a beer that I read about years ago that hails from Japan and was supposedly very good.


ABV: 9.5%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This foreboding Stout unleashes a torrential downpour of hop character within a maelstrom of roasted malt flavor.”

Random: I love the detail on their labels. I’m a sucker for good graphic design.

This beer poured with less than a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color with no visible carbonation. The nose had a lot of dark chocolate, cocoa and smoke. It had a certain mustiness to it. The taste had dark chocolate, but then this berry note came through. It was very odd, and honestly, not very pleasant. The smoke and mustiness came through next, which didn’t play well with the berry note. It also had some caramel malt and roastiness. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. The alcohol provided a bit of warming and wasn’t very well-integrated. It had a quick finish with smoke and dark chocolate. A single bottle was $6.99 ($.58 per ounce), which was really expensive, in my opinion. Even without considering the price, this was a bit disappointing and could have been better executed. I would not have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0