|In the 1700's Catherine the Great felt the need to import stouts to Russia. In the late 80's, Soviets felt the need to import 80's Joel.|
This beer would make Catherine proud. It is a classic imperial stout in appearance: dark as Stalin’s soul, crowned with a half-finger light brown head. On the nose you get some oak, some hops and, in a rare treat for my Scotch-tinged nostrils, the smell of peat. The peat continues as you taste and is what makes this beer stick out in comparison to many of its comrades. Burnt sugar and black tea are present with the hops and roasted malts, but it’s the peat flavor that sticks with you. The carbonation is a little heavier than I prefer, but it settles down as the beer warms and the flavors, including some prune and other dark fruits, open up. There is a medium, oily mouthfeel and I have no problems finishing off a half liter of this. The alcohol, at 10%, sticks it to you like you were a serf in the Crimean War, yet the peat keeps it pleasantly interesting. A solid beer.