David Sapsis's picture

Judge's Review: 94 Rating - Jolly Russian by Odell Brewing Co.

October, 2018
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Jolly Russian by Odell Brewing Co. is identified as a Rum Barrel-Aged  Russian Imperial Stout, and is being judged as a BJCP Category 33B, Specialty Wood Aged Beer. Served at 50 F.

The beer is presented in a large goblet after a full and vigorous pour. The color is opaque and deep brown/black, crested with a thick, 2-inch crop of  light brown-mocha foam, which shows modest but respectable stand (mostly gone in 3 minutes).   

The aroma is big and lushly sweet with lots of dark fruit (prunes, figs), medium molasses, and some cocoa, rounded out by a very evident shot of alcohol. A bit of spicy wood combined with the sugary vanilla and fruity sweetness gives some hint to its rum-cask provenance. The beer smells very inviting and dessert-like. 

The flavor starts off with notes of ripe black mission figs dosed with medium dark molasses, and a nice complementing spicy angle (cinnamon, allspice), and an  evident and respectable hop bitterness; mid-palate flavors see the emergence of a soft and somewhat muted cocoa/roast character, much more chocolate-like then coffee-like. The finish is a very well-balanced off-dry, with a shot of ethanol heat and lingering herbal-spicy tones well into the late-palate. While the rum and wood character are there, they aren't deeply aged/aldehydic and solera-like (common in well-aged examples of these types of beers)  and it overall seems to dry the beer out nicely. Mouthfeel is thick with appreciable creaminess, relatively low astringency, and a nice carbonic spritz. Despite the beers big flavor profile and appreciable alcoholic strength, its pleasant balance and off-dry finish make for a very drinkable digestif/nighttime warmer.