Dec 4, 2014

Old Bust Head Brewing Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout

I first encountered Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout at Old Bust Head’s grand opening of their taproom back in August of this year. It was served on nitro and, while smooth and velvety, it lacked the depth of many of its contemporaries. I had made a point to pick up a growler of the 10% ABV brew without the nitro influence. The result was a world fo difference.

Without the addition of gas on the beer, the flavors became more apparent, delivering roast coffee, anise, hits of cocoa and more. The feeling on the tongue isn’t quite as soft, but the beer isn’t overly robust in that regard to begin with. Gold Cup has been my go to purchase whenever I make the short trip to the company for a growler fill — although, after a pint of their Chipotle Gold Cup, that may be challenged in future visits.

Old Bust Head Brewing Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout photo


Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout pours an opaque black in color with a short-lived cap of brown foam. It certainly looks ever bit the part of a big stout.


Distant roast coffee, earthy, hints of cocoa, oats and a twinge of a light smokey char fill the nose effortlessly.


It’s immediately evident after the first sip or two that the nitro muted some of the flavor elements. It may have made the brew more palatable and velvety, but without it the flavors really come to life. Coffee, earth, hint of soy, oats, a moderate sweetness, cocoa and a touch of anise file in together, a parade of flavors not found in the nitro draft version. For such a big beer, alcohol-wise, Gold Cup masks it’s presence well, only showing as a light warmth in the drying and lasting finish.


There’s much more depth here in this version of Gold Cup. It’s lively, has more depth and is all around just more enjoyable. I’ve found, through several growler refills over the past couple of months, that the beer is best after having rested a day or two after getting it home. It’s also a brew that presents itself best at cellar temps or even a bit warmer. It’s the best beer from the company thus far — that is, until I get another chance to sit down with that chipotle-influenced variety.

Rating: 4/5

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