I am admittedly a bit behind on my Barrel Society beers this year. The third release came out back in late July, but I never got the chance to try it on tap. I was, however, recently able to find a quiet night to kick back and treat myself to one of my bottles before bed.
Beer Name: Elbrus
Brewer: Night Shift Brewing Company
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Description: The third installment in this year’s lineup of Barrel Society beers, this big stout was aged in bourbon barrels and bottled at some point in June. The label has the following description to offer: “Brewer’s Notes: pours black in color; aromas of walnut, dark fruit, and dark chocolate; big flavors of molasses, raisin, and brownie batter; dry, oaky finish with notes of vanilla and fudge.” Of course this went into my trusty 2016 Barrel Society snifter.
Appearance: Poured a thick dark brown/nearly black body with an even thicker foamy tan head.
Smell: Sweet notes of chocolate and brownie batter before coming to a slight bourbony finish.
Taste: Sweet upfront, with the fudge and brownie batter notes joined by dark fruit and malt. The finish brought on a moderate coffee and dark chocolate bitterness accentuated by a hint of vanilla and oak before getting closed out with a touch of bourbon heat. While I wouldn’t necessarily call this beer boozy, it did taste a bit bigger than the listed ABV.
Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth body with a rather low amount of carbonation. Suited the big flavors nicely.
Hype Factor: As I’ve said before, the Barrel Society offerings always come with heightened expectations. That, combined with Night Shift’s tendency to release some really great stouts, had me pretty excited to try this.
Overall: A very good beer, I really enjoyed the malty sweetness it had to offer. In fact, I think I would have loved this had the finish been just a little tamer; it just seemed a bit exaggerated in terms of bitterness and heat. My thought is time may end up doing some excellent things in this regard, so I am going to keep my remaining bottle well hidden from myself and try this again in a year or so to see how it aged.