120. Full Sail Brewing – ’97 Russian Imperial Stout Draft

As I mentioned, for my Brewmaster Cuisinternship, I brewed at Full Sail in Hood River on Monday and Tuesday, and then traveled into Portland on Wednesday to brew with brewmaster John Harris (seen here in the hat).  At the brunch and parade, John told me to come find him around 3 o’clock at the Buzz tent (a tent at the Oregon Brewers Festival that offers unique beers for 2 tokens each).  When I arrived, he mentioned that they were going to tap a Russian Imperial Stout he had brewed for his birthday… in 1997.  Yes, he pulled a 13 year old Russian Imperial Stout out of his brewmaster reserve (which he took me to the secret location of yesterday and gave me a several aged beers to fly home to Illinois with).  I went up and shared some of the first pours off the keg with John.

The color was black and the head was tan and creamy.  What I loved most about the beer was the aroma.  It was very complex and there were chocolate, coffee, oak, toffee, and roasty smells.

When I took a drink, I was a bit surprised with the body, as it was a bit lighter than I was expecting, but it was on the lighter side of a medium body.  I first noticed the caramel and toffee like malt flavors, followed by the slight coffee and liquorice bitterness.  In the finish, I noticed a bit of alcohol warmth.

This is not the kind of beer you drink with food.  It’s the kind you sit, sip, and enjoy like you would a fine bourbon.  This was a very good beer, which stood the test of time.  I’m incredibly glad I was able to enjoy this beer, and very humbled to get a chance to sip it along with the brewmaster.

Author: Kevin

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