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Thorn St. Brewery- San Diego (North Park)

Russian Imperial Stout has an interesting history in that it was first brewed in 18th Century London for the court of Catherine the Great of Russia.  Russians back then must have liked the high alcohol stouts that were being produced in England at the time, as they imported a lot of it.  I really enjoy this variation of stout so when I visited Thorn St. and saw it on their board I skipped a taster and got a full blast.  Thorn St. named this batch “Bourbon Barrel Dark Tsar Russian Imperial Stout.”  Fitting for the style, it’s 11% ABV.

Served properly in a snifter, this brew poured a rich black color with a small, tan head.  A nice aroma characteristic from the bourbon barrel and hops wafted up at the first sip.  Feathery lacing lingered long.  True to the style, mouth feel was slick and I could easily taste coffee roast, bittersweet chocolate flavors, and medium hop bitterness.  Mid-palate there was some astringency; not sure if it was from the hops or an off-flavor.  There was a nice, high alcohol aftertaste.  Overall, this was a very nice beer.  It would be great along with rich chocolate desserts or tiramisu.

By the way, Thorn St. created an interesting sink with cool faucets in the restroom using brewery parts.

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