For Those of Us Stout Lovers
A Review of Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout by Emelisse Bierbrouwerij
Posted on 8/1/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
Good
When it comes to Russian Imperial Stouts, I am a firm believer that there are only two categories that people can fall into. You are either like me, and obsessively love them to the point of it possibly being a problem, or you hate them, and deserve a nice slap across the face for doing so. In any event, rarely is there a time where someone seems to fall in the middle when it comes to this style. Maybe its the specific tastes associated with them, or maybe its just their high level of complexity that seems to draw the distinct dividing line. Whatever the case may be, today I am going to be speaking to those who really appreciate and understand the style by reviewing the Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout by the Emelisse Bierbrouwerij.

When poured, it has what I would call the standard RIS look. It takes on an ink black in coloration, and about a fingers worth of mocha colored head floats on top for a few minutes before thinning down to a fine film. One lesson that we have learned in the better beer world is that little to no head equals a high ABV, and at 11% I think this one definitely fits the bill. When you get in close to it, smells of dark fruits, espresso, licorice, and charred chocolate crawl out of its abyss to greet you. After some warming time, a distinct alcohol burn can be noted, and some highlights of vanilla and caramel come through as time ticks by.

Going in for the initial taste, the first thing you notice is a surprisingly thin mouthfeel. While not completely out of the range of acceptable, it dances dangerously close to the line. Once you move past that, the things start to resemble a good RIS again. The chocolate and the espresso flavors are dark and rich, while the dark fruit flavors tend to stay more in the background. Slightly burnt malts come through around the middle, with some sweet milky flavors joining in as well. Towards the end, it gets a bit earthy, but think of it more as a balancing flavor rather than an unwelcome one. The carbonation level is a bit high as well, but not to the point of full failure.

Being the stout snot that I am, I find myself on the fence when it comes to the Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout. It didn't really blow me away in any areas, and it caused a raised eyebrow from me on at least 2 different occasions during the session. At the same time, the flavors were better than just good, and the well hidden 11% ABV was a nice little bonus at sessions end. I think when it comes down to it, the people at the Emelisse Bierbrouwerij have made a respectable brew here, and I can't think of any reasons for people to avoid it. So if it crosses your path sometime, feel free to take it for a spin. Not all beers have to be show stoppers in order for you to enjoy them, and this is yet another one to add to that list.

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Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout by Emelisse Bierbrouwerij
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