PORTLAND, Ore. – March 28, 2012 – Widmer Brothers Brewing has released Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’12, the second offering in the brewery’s recently launched Alchemy Project, a series of three bold, vintage-dated craft beers that can be enjoyed immediately, but are brewed to improve with age.So, there you have it. Pretty much a limited seasonal... or not so limited. I can't really tell. They are trying to promote vertical tastings, nonetheless. This is my first, and the only one I have had in the series.
Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout was first brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in 2008 for the Portland Holiday Ale Festival. In the summer of 2011, Widmer Brothers brewers discovered a barrel of the initial batch, which was known as Babushka’s Secret, in the brewery’s cellar. After tasting the beer and realizing how well the beer aged with time, the brewing team decided to brew the beer again as part of the Alchemy Project. Beginning this year, Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout will be released once a year as part of the project.
“This is our unique interpretation of the Russian Imperial Stout style, with the addition of red raspberries during the fermentation process,” said Ben Dobler, brewer at Widmer Brothers Brewing. “The use of Midnight Wheat gives this beer an extra layer of complexity, and the antioxidant-rich red raspberries give this beer storage-ability and age-ability.”
I have no idea where they got the visualization that this beer is "purplish opaque"... I'd call it pitch black. Even when I hold it up to the light, I get nothing. The beer had a brown head that dissipated rather quickly and a sweet raspberries on the nose and you can tell this beer has a big malty background even before taking the first sip.
This beer is very assertive. The strong, tart, sweet, bitterness that opens this beer pretty much sets you up for the rest. It does mellow out and then you get a lot of chocolate and raspberries. This beer is quite roasted and thick, though it drank really smooth. I wonder if the body or the fruit hid the 9.3% alcohol. Either way, it was an interesting beer.
I don't think I would pick it up again. I think the bomber was just way too much. A 6oz pour of this would probably be perfect. It has an awesome bottle though, I will have to keep that and try to turn it into a glass, even though I have been having great success with that so far...