Christmas week is Massachusetts at my childhood home, meant drinking my annual bottle from our 2007 batch of Courage Russian Imperial Stout clone! Three bottles of this batch are all that is left in the closest, so I'm good through 2018! I thought there was a forth bottle, but on closer inspection it was a Scandinavian Imperial Porter brewed earlier that same year (not a bad trade, considering I thought I opened the last one of those a couple years ago!)
Courage RIS Clone 2007
Appearance – Opaque dark charcoal brown, other than the clear amber-red edges. Head is fine, haven’t noticed any appreciable deterioration with age.
Smell – The nose leads with earthy slightly-smoky Brett, followed by toast slathered with Nutella. Vanilla and clean booze as it warms. Good progression as it approaches room temperature, nice to have a sipper that changes as you slowly imbibe.
Taste – Sweetness is picking up as the hops continue to drop out: milk chocolate, molasses, and figgy pudding. Still some leather from the Brett, maybe even a little horse blanket. Toasted marshmallow in the finish, a character I don’t see mentioned in previous tastings.
Mouthfeel – Low-moderate carbonation and the body is still luscious, so still no sign that the Brett survived. This technique, fining and then chemically pasteurizing, is still my choice for a hint of funk without drying out a dark beer.
Drinkability & Notes – Thank goodness for the anti-oxidant properties of metabisulfite, no eight year old beer deserves to taste this fresh! I may need to start dosing clean beers intended for aging with a small amount. Time to rebrew this recipe, five gallons all for myself this time (that should take me to Christmas 2060 or so)!