Cigar City Brewing Vanilla Hazelnut Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout
Cigar City Brewing Vanilla Hazelnut Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout is a Russian Imperial Stout with roasted hazelnuts and vanilla added, no ABV or bottle date.
This massive RIS pours with a jet black color and has a fine looking dark tan head that leaves some impressive lacing as it settles. At first I don’t pick up anything from the added ingredients, but they do eventually emerge. The big sweet chocolate, sticky molasses, dark chocolate, charred malt and licorice you typically get from Marshal Zhukov’s are all on the aroma, but in the mix is a small amount of sweet vanilla and roasty hazelnuts. Sweet dark chocolate, alcohol heat, bold vanilla and slightly burnt malts make up the majority of the flavor profile. The vanilla is really adding a different kind of sweetness than you get from the base beer alone. A combination of intense licorice and slightly piney hops end the taste along with some alcohol burn. With so many bold flavors going on I’m finding it hard to get much from the hazelnuts. The mouth-feel is much as I expect from Marshal Zhukov’s, this beer is so thick and rich you almost have to chew it.
I tend to want to age Marshal Zhukov’s for about a year or two before opening to let it chill out and sweeten up a little. Vanilla Hazelnut Marshal Zhukov’s seems to be have the perfect amount of balance right out of the gate. Seek and enjoy!