This is a top notch Russian Imperial stout! Russian Imperial Stouts date back to the 1800's when British brewers competed to win favour with the Russian court by brewing the darkest, maltiest and highest alcohol content ale that they could. I think that this beer typifies that description pretty well. I'm not sure how hoppy they were back in the day, but this one is mild.
Thumbs up for the bottle, I will totally reuse this one again!
The beer poured opaque and black like french roast coffee. The head was a very thin brown ring around the glass and almost dissipates through the drink. Lacing on the glass is almost non-existant.
Aromas of roasted caramel malts first hit me, then an alcohol air brings notes of cherry to my nose. Sweet and almost sherry like.
The flavour is dramatically malty and not overdone on the roasted flavours. It's more like caramel, dark chocolate, mild coffees and cherry with an underlying bitterness that is barely noticeable until the sip is down your throat and then it lingers well balanced with sweet cherry and mild hops. Througout the sip there is mildly noticeable alcohol that warms as the beer finishes.
The mouthfeel is fairly thick and creamy with mellow carbonation. If the carbonation were moderate or greater, I believe the alcohol would be much more noticeable and the beer finishes mildly to moderately dry leaving you wanting that next sip. For being how sweet it is, it really is well balanced in all respects.
The beer is fantastic and truly is another favorite in a catagory for me. This is by far the most appealing Russian Imperial Stout to me. Most I have had were extremely roasted malts and high bittering hops. This balanced Prince of Stouts is much more my style and I will have to give it a 9 out of 10.
I take a point off for lack of a head and that is purely aesthetic and in no way effecting the flavour!
Get out and try this beer! Life is too short to drink crappy beer!