Dec 27, 2017

Stone Brewing Mikhail

Stone Brewing Russian Imperial Stout is one of those annual releases that I typically purchase each year. The tasty stout is a great beer that cellars well. The company’s espresso variant of the big stout was originally announced as an “odd year” release back in 2013. And now, I’ve just run across Mikhail, a bourbon barrel-aged version of that coffee infused stout.

Stone brewed the base beer in July of 2016 before storing it away in retired Kentucky bourbon barrels. Mikhail emerged weighing in at 13.5% ABV (43 IBU) and packed with espresso and bourbon-y character. The flavors of the base stout come through wonderfully, mixing well with the barrel influence to create a surprisingly well-balanced experience. Espresso, bourbon, wood, vanilla, caramel and a bit of toffee mingle easily with one another. A gentle hop bite tingles as the decadent beer finishes warming and lightly drying.

My only complaint with Mikhail — and it’s a common one amongst barrel-aged stouts — is the fullness of the beer. It’s a bit on the thin side when compared to the base brew. That nitpick aside, the imperial stout provides great flavor and a smooth bourbon influence that never demands too much of the spotlight. I sipped lazily from this beer for a long time before it was all gone.