Great Lakes Brewery 30th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout with Steph

Another big bottled, high abv, milestone-celebrating weird beer here, with a twist – it’s actually good!

A lot of times these large format beers can be.. um.. challenging. A lot of hops to make big flavour can make something undrinkable or a lot of yeast to kick up the alcohol content can make things a little too “sour” or rank. This is neither of those.  This 30th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout from Great Lakes Brewing has the big rounded corners of a properly mellowed full bore dark beer without falling into any of those above-mentioned traps we sometimes see. Maintaining flavour and structure with a high abv also seems to be a task a lot of brewers aren’t up to, but again, not the case here.

I guess it’s a little weird to write a review of a beer this good that talks mostly about what it managed to not mess up. When you’ve had as many Big Show-Off Beers as we have, meeting a new one is not without some baggage, like “i hope i’m not too drunk after” or “i hope i can still taste things after”. So i should say: It’s really nice to drink a beer that really shows off what a brewery can do. Here’s what we thought:

nose
Steph – roast molasses cookies
Simon – damp fire wood, cherry coke

taste
Steph – caramel, figs, berries
Simon – plums, chocolate

finish
Steph – dark chocolate
Simon – chocolate wafer cookie

overall
Steph – 8/10
Simon – 7.9/10

Great Lakes Brewery 30th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout – 11.9% 750ml – $15.50 – Ontario

Try it? Yes. Buy it? Yes.

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