Saturday, January 2, 2010

Courage Russian Imperial Stout Clone - Tasting 2009

Well a year has passed since my last tasting of the Courage Russian Imperial Stout clone I brewed back in July 2007.  The last year was kind to this batch, making it more drinkable while also giving it a boost in complexity.  I have been behaved and still have enough bottles for a sample each year until Christmas 2020 or so.  


Courage Russian Imperial Stout Clone

Appearance - Deep black liquid, a nice looking stout, nearly opaque with a hint of garnet at the bottom.  The thin brown head has surprising longevity and really enhances the appearance of the beer.  Hopefully additional age will not damage the head formation/retention. 

Aroma - Big toasty aroma with bitter cocoa, dusty barnyard.  Once it warms there is a nice sweetness and just a hint of ethanol as it approaches room temperature.

Flavor - Lingering burnt coffee earth in the finish with the suggestion of burnt marshmallow.  Not much alcohol or bitterness smooth.  There is no negative oxidation, but a hint of coconut which is either from the oak, or some minor oxidation starting to set in.  It will be interesting to see how these components change over time.

Mouthfeel - Firm carbonation medium body, not quite as rich as I think a beer like this should be.  I am glad I didn't let the gravity get any lower before I stopped it with metabisulfite. 

Drinkability/Notes
- Very good but I bet it will be even better next year mellowed but concerned it might get too sweet as the hops continue to fade.  Looking back at last year's notes it doesn't seem like the changes have been major, which is a good sign for the long term stability of this batch.

Sorry for the extended gap in my posts, but I was up in Massachusetts visiting my family for the Christmas to New Years week.  I did get my hands on plenty of tasty bottles (for inspiration), and brought back down a couple cases of homebrew, now that I have the space to keep them down here in DC.  Hopefully this winter I will have time to revisit some more strong beers from years past to give an impression of how they have aged.

I also got a chance to drink a bottle of Fuller's 1998 Vintage Ale that my friend (and former partner in brewing) Jason and I had been sitting on for a couple years (Fuller's conservatively estimated that the beer was best before the end of 2001).  I'll only say that I hope my beer holds up as well when it is 11 years old, the dark fruit and port flavors were fantastic, marred only by a touch of papery oxidation.

5 comments:

ambell said...

Yup, had some 1997 Fuller's Vintage over the summer...was holding up surprisingly well!

Mike I. said...

Mike,
It sounds like it's starting to become the great beer you had hoped. It sounds excellent. The "coconut" will probably become more pronounced over the next few years. I believe it's the oak tannins pulling through with age. I've had bottles of aged Curieux that have done that over time.

-Mike
http://phillysteaks.blogspot.com

The Blow Leprechaun said...

I was going to open a bottle of 2000 JW Lees for New Years, but the party I went to ended up being too lame to sacrifice such a wonder for.

Jason Lyle said...

Thanks for the shout out, Mike! That Fuller's certainly held up nicely. Much better than that '96 Gale's Prize Old Ale we attempted back in '05, anyway.

Great to see you, as always. All's well up here in the wild, wild moosey north.

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