Ivan The Terrible (Unbarreled) - Big Sky Brewing Company
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Ratings: 6 | Reviews: 1 | Show All Ratings:
4.05/5 rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Reviewing the non-barrel aged base beer for Ivan The Terrible from Big Sky Brewing Company out of Montana. I had the pleasure of drinking this beer at the Map Room in Chicago for Chicago craft beer week while chatting with Big Sky's head brewer Matt Long.
Tap pour from the 2012 batch that is currently sitting in barrels for a late October 2012 release. Served in a chalice glass and enjoyed on 05/23/12 with a cup of Intelligensia coffee.
Appearance: Pitch black color. Seems completely opaque in the bar, though the lighting is not the best. Served with a finger of soapy tan head that slowly recedes into a thin layer atop the glass. Amazing lacing and retention. 5/5
Smell: Brown sugar, roasted chocolate, a little black "medium roast" coffee, and some dark fruit. 4/5
Taste: A decent amount of roasted chocolate throughout, but this is not a chocolate-forward beer. Rather, Ivan is a balanced medley of traditional stout flavors. Dry fig and black cherry, with more bittersweet dark fruit flavor growing on the midpalate as the beer warms. There is a little brown sugar flavor in the mix too, but not in a "sweet" way. Some cocoa and raw chocolate. There's a bit of nondescript butteriness. A bit acidic, but not overly so, as the low amount of carbonation keeps it quite drinkable. Unlike the nose, I did not detect much, if any, coffee flavor. The alcohol is completely hidden. The flavors linger a bit, particularly the bitter chocolate, and it helps some of the beer's tastier complexities layer. 4/5
Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, minimal carbonation. Roasty, bitter and a bit acidic. Decently dry finish. 4/5
Overall: Initially I was a bit disappointed to arrive at the Map Room only to find out that the "real" Ivan, the barrel aged stuff, was not what was on tap. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the base beer. This is a real nice and roasty stout, and it is different from most Russian Imperial Stouts (which tend to be sweeter and chocolatier). Ivan's base beer is quite delicious in its own right, and I can't wait to try a bottle of the barrel aged stuff.
Recommendation: If this stuff saw regular 12 oz bottle format treatment, I would likely buy a four/six pack. I'd recommend this all around to people who do not mind roasty stouts.
Pairings: Intelligensia's house blend or diablo roast coffee.
Cost: $5 for a 12 oz pour in a chalice glass.
Serving type: on-tap
05-23-2012 22:09:11 | More by jegross2
Ivan The Terrible (Unbarreled) from Big Sky Brewing Company
N/A out of 100 based on 6 user ratings.