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Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout

Judges Rating: 
24 / 24
5 / 6
39 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Weighing in at a respectable 11 percent ABV, Cigar City’s Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout is a beer to be treated with respect. Situated in Tampa, Fla., the brewery is a relative newcomer but has quickly established itself as a brewing force to be reckoned with. Marshal Zhukov’s displays the tradition imperial stout aromas of French roast coffee, licorice, chocolate and alcohol, and it does so in abundance. Rick liked the integration of tar-like roastiness and savory dried herb notes of thyme and spearmint, as well as the prodigious alcohol in the nose. While he did comment on the alcohol, Pete lasered in on the rich, almost unctuous dark fruit character of prunes, figs and ripe plums. This beer oozes from the bottle and is such a deeply saturated black that it seems to suck the light from the room. This is one thick brew, and it takes a couple of minutes for the carbonation to struggle through the beer and produce the barest collar of light brown foam. Following suit from the aroma, the flavors aren’t shy in the least. Tons of dark roasted barley, Belgian dark chocolate, black cherry and alcohol compete for preeminence, yet the overall flavor is incredibly well integrated. Tim was impressed by the brewer’s adroitness in harmonizing sticky, resiny hops and intense espresso flavors, and Tom was effusive in his praise for the way the beer “coats the tongue with dark roasted goodness.” The entire panel agreed that, despite packing a rather powerful punch, Marshal Zhukov’s is perilously drinkable. Reserve this one for a stormy evening at home in front of the fire.