Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout

Total Score: 8.25/10 Coffee1DarkFruits1Chocolate1Tulipglass1

Getting close to #850 I found this Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout that had been sitting at the back of the fridge since last year! I had been meaning to review it for so long however new beers kept popping up and it consequentially got pushed to the back. I’ve heard good things about this Dutch brewery, named after a village in one of the low-lying areas of the Netherlands that got flooded and disappeared off the maps, this Russian Imperial Stout being one of the most vaunted of their brews. I must admit the weather is primed for this 11% ABV RIS – being a chilly (for Brisbane at least) 16 degrees Celsius atm… so time to sit back, pop open a nice RIS and sip it slowly from my Duvel tulip, ahhh, life is good!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep and rich mahogany body, hmmm, not bad, with a centimetre of dense khaki head. It’s a surprise that a beer this strong can even maintain a head, let alone one as luscious as this, excellent work. Lots of yeast clumps at the bottle of the glass, normal for a beer that has been in the fridge for about a year. 9/10.

S: Smells a treat too! Rich espresso, red coffee cherries, vanilla, dark chocolate and an almost floral perfume round out the aroma. Hint of earthiness in there as well, this brew has definitely benefited from a short cellaring in the back of my fridge – when an RIS aroma is this good you just want to tuck straight in. 9/10.

T: The above characters: Rich espresso, red coffee cherries, vanilla, and dark chocolate come through well. Then it takes a decidedly dark fruit slant and throws dates and raisins at you. Touch on the sweeter side – though nothing out of the ordinary given the style. Finish is has a sharp espresso bitter note, a slight detraction from an overall splendid flavour profile. The 11% ABV is hardly noticeable as well, though I suspect this would not be the case with a fresher bottle. 8/10.

M: Decent but not perfect, mid to heavy bodied with a thin carbonation – the only real room for improvement with this brew (oh and the bitterness in the finish). 8/10.

D: Top shelf stuff this! That bitter note, and the thin carbonation were the only things that let Emelisse down. As far as I’m concerned (aware) this is the best RIS I’ve ever had from the Netherlands – a country not well known for Stout styles, however one that I will revisit in future when I spot another Stout from there. Lol, some American reviewer noted that there wasn’t enough bitterness with this brew… maybe I need to get my tongue checked? 8/10.

Food match: Roasted red meats, also chargrilled, with veggies to match, and cigars.

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