Black Sheep brewery originally brewed their Imperial Russian stout in 2011 as one of a team of 12 brewers for a special tasting in Saint Petersburg. I was given a bottle by a friend and have saved it until now and it was worth the wait.
I really enjoy imperial Russian stouts, I think that the style with it’s high ABV has a lot of space for some impressive flavours. Sometimes an imperial Russian stout will have too much of one or more flavours and these will dominate, so a really well balanced one is quite a pleasure to drink.
The nose on Black Sheep’s Imperial Russian Stout is quite complete, it has essences of rich fruit cake and powerful alcohols. The initial taste is instant rich aged fruit cake with burnt caramel and coffee. This flows into smooth alcohols and rich malts ending in an airy end with liquorice and more rich fruitcake.Although the flavours in this beer are quite strong they are well balanced, with some pervading through the whole taste while others weave in and out. This is a well crafted imperial Russian stout and Black Sheep have shown their skills in brewing this.I aged mine slightly, and would recommend this, a friend who had tried it when it was younger said that the beer had benefited from the time it was given.
Due to the success of the first limited brew of this beer, Black Sheep have decided to brew another and I hope that this becomes a regular brew because this is a fine example of a style which I think that all beer lovers should try.