Imperial Stout packs a punch

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I can’t believe this is the final First Draught of 2018!

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/12/2018 (1331 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I can’t believe this is the final First Draught of 2018!

While this year may not have been as prolific for new breweries opening in Manitoba, we saw Devil May Care, Kilter, Nonsuch and Winnipeg Brew Werks open up, offering a wide variety of beer options ranging from German Pilsners to New England IPAs, and even a beer brewed in honour of Brandon University’s 50th anniversary!

This week I’m checking out Woland Russian Imperial Stout by Oxus Brewing in Winnipeg. I reviewed Oxus’ NEIPULA New England IPA only a few weeks ago — many of you seemed to love it, so when I saw that Oxus came out with a Russian Imperial Stout, I knew I had to try it.

At first, I was thinking that this was going to be a stout from a brewery outside of Manitoba, thinking that it may be from a brewery out of Germany of all places.

Woland is an Imperial Stout that has aged on toasted whisky barrel oak chips and conditioned in bottles for three months prior to release. I absolutely LOVE Russian Imperial Stouts, especially ones that are aged to perfection, so this may be the beer for me for the post Boxing Day blues.

Woland pours a thick, black stout with a thick burnt caramel head on top. There’s a good amount of fizzy carbonation taking place, making it more carbonated than your usual stout.

The aroma is fairly simple yet complex. There’s notes of roasted malt to give it off a rich coffee-like profile to it, a mild amount of caramel presence for sweetness, a hint of vanilla, a light earthy peat presence that’s typical in your common whiskies or many Russian Imperial Stouts, as well as a rich creaminess of what appears to be lactose, though it may not contain any at all. The oak barrel presence isn’t something I’m getting so far, I was hoping for a rich woody, oaky presence by now.

Woland is incredibly boozy. In fact, I taste whisky before anything else! I think all the barrel that I missed in the aroma showed up in a much larger presence for the tasting profile. I get that rich, boozy sensation you get from Crown Royal or Jack Daniels, followed by a hefty amount of oak, a moderate amount of vanilla, a good amount of rich roasted malt to give it the typical roasted coffee flavour to it, as well as notes of dried fruits (raisins, figs). At the end, I get the presence of lactose again, to give it a bit of a milky taste as well as a bit of a creaminess on the tongue. The aftertaste is mostly a dark fruit taste with a hint of apple to it.

At 9.7 per cent ABV, I’m definitely feeling the alcohol burn hitting me — I didn’t expect it, especially when I didn’t get any of the whisky oak barrel in the aroma, but it really popped out in the taste. Russian Imperial Stouts are known to be boozy, sweet and oaky, but it has been nearly a year since I’ve had one with this much of all three combined. At $8.49 per 650 mL bottle, I think this is a great value and since Russian Imperial Stouts can age well up to five years, it may be worth saving a couple for the future.

Stock is limited so it may be sold out by now. If it’s sold out, I’m sure Quality Inn Craft Beer Store in Winnipeg will have the beer available. If you’re unable to find the beer, Oxus’ Juice of the Oats Oatmeal Stout is available at the Corral Centre Liquor Mart for $3.49 per 473 mL can.

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