Sunday, December 28, 2008

Courage RIS Tasting - Christmas 2008

Time for my yearly Christmas tasting of the Courage Russian Imperial Stout clone that my friend James and I brewed July 2007. I've still got 11 bottles of this, so expect an update around this time every year for awhile.

Appearance - A first glance it is pitch black, but when held to the light it reveals a clear ruby red highlight at the bottom of the wine glass. The thin mocha head falls to a thin coating within a few minutes, but these wisps of foam last all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma - Toasted bread and roasted malts dominate the aroma. The Brett lends some tropical coconut aspects as well as some dusty attic aromatics. There is also sort of a sugary/creamy aspect to the aroma, like a sweet stout.

Flavor - Dark chocolate, with some cappuccino notes. The tropical aromatics carry through into the mouth as well. The alcohol is well masked, but there is a light warming sensation. The bitterness is just barely perceivable. The flavor is still very fresh at 18 months, with no negative oxidation noticeable (the coconut may be the early stages of oxidation and not the Brett, but it is still pleasant).

Mouthfeel - The body is a hair thin, and the carbonation is a touch high. Neither is way off the mark, but it became a better beer as some time passed and much of the carbonation escaped.

Drinkability/Notes - Well balanced, and almost too easy to drink. The tropical/coconut aspect of the Brett is not really what I was hoping for, I wanted leather and dark fruit. Hopefully more age will bring out some of these characteristics, but with the Brett killed it may never happen.


Nicolino said...

Hi there! Really interesting experiment. The 1983 Courage Russian Imperial Stout I had at Kulminator last year was the best beer to ever gone through my lips... and I highly doubt I will have better. I´m not that used to play with wild yeast, but sure when I get up to it I will give a shot to your recipe.


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Sounds like an awsome experience, hopefully with the global resurgence of craft beer Courage will again start brewing their stout commercially.

I am interested to see where this beer goes with more age, but at this point the flavor is very different than any description I have read of the original (not that many people were drinking it at 18 months).