Apple Brandy Vanilla Marshall Zhukov: top 5 beer of the year, in terms of disappointment

Some background information needs to be made clear here before I tread into the realm of generalizations and tiger traps of qualifiers.  This bottle was the brainchild of a beer muling group “BeerzRGewd” and if you find that L33Tsp34k name as repugnant as anyone currently outside of the 8th grade, you are not alone.  Cigar City had a charitable auction and this group, the vast majority of whom are really cool standup people, pooled their resources and won the auction as a group.  BeerzRgewd raised a substantial sum for charity and all was well.


inb4 “doesn’t have that kickass BeerzRgewd ostentatious sticker, review invalid”

As a result, this beer muling group was allowed to design a beer.  As such, they happened to choose arguably/on-paper the most hype driven return on ROI possible: vanilla + apple brandy.  What happened next is a story of beer legends.  Most of the members in the group received their bottles and shared them with friends, zero boats were rocked.  Shortly thereafter on a daily basis, these bottles were raffled for upwards of $700 each.  For a charity beer that essentially no one had tried. Over and over. Take that situation and further compound it with other traders unabashedly asking for Pvw15 1:1 and the kindling took fire.

It was later discovered that the group itself was exhibiting a type of dead hand control as to what people who donated to the charity were “allowed” to trade their bottles for, because protecting trade value is SRS charitable bznss.  In this fervor of exclusivity, other people began to actually try these bottles and note the complete absence of vanilla, and the underwhelming character to the beer.  Not unlike a strong safety, the back pedaling began.


Tasting it next to the inimitable SR-71 only served to further compound the glaring inequalities.

So what does any of this petty Mean Girls meets Yu Gi Oh nerd shit have to do with how this beer tastes?  Very little, actually.  Suffice it to say, if you picked this beer up off the shelf, it would be a pretty good offering albeit not mindblowing.  Within the context of people demanding $700+ and a select few people making illegal gains from charitable donations,  this bottle becomes hilarious.  It had better be sloppy hj amazing at that point.

The beer pours with a touch thinner viscosity than any MZ or Huna treatment, and even Sherry Barrel MZ pours with more aplomb and grace.  The prosaic carb lies prostrate as though it too wants to get this over with.  The MZ face that launched a thousand right swipes is the closest thing to a palate catfish that can be imagined.  This simply is not the same stout that was lauded in its default photo.  The deceit is overriding throughout the meeting and an early exit is not unreasonable.


The nose has none of the lovely sweet butterscotch and caramel aspects of apple brandy huna.  It doesn’t even have that odd but still welcome sugar daddies and fig thing that California Brandy Huna had.  This is easily the worst treatment of MZ I have had, Sherry inclusive.  While I wanted a Last Push experience, it was my expectations that were heavily pushed upon, the limits gaping and yawning under the breaking weight of scales falling precipitously out of balance.

Pressing forward there is a nice but not exceptional blackstrap molasses and tollhouse aspect that is pleasant.  The nose reminds me of regular ass Pugachev’s Cobra, which was admittedly more memorable in the brownie/barrel aspect.  The barrel is muted like RedTube at Nana’s house. There is a faint twinge of Napa Cab, a weird raisin meets port thing that only serves to underscore the absolute lack of vanilla bean.  I have to stop to field a shitty rejoinder from some of the shameless Vanilla Oil Salesmen who offloaded these: if your beer doesn’t retain even a trace vanilla for a mere six months, then it is a fucking disappointment.  Period.  Alright let’s move on before the qualifiers black out the skies from circumlocutory dipshits.


The taste does little to flesh out sky high hopes and executes something in the realm of “waiting for alcoholic real Dad to take you to Disneyland like he promised.”  Space Mountain, it is not.  There’s an almond skin and tasty balance of toasted pumpernickel bread, milk chocolate, a faintly Kikoman salinity and bitterness, with a meager waxy closer that I guess is the “Vanilla” that was so lauded by those who now possess the illgotten capital gains.  The complete absence of vanilla would be forgiveable if it were merely Apple Brandy Zhukov, but it even manages to miss that mark.  There is a light acrid finish that is a touch sharp that becomes more pronounced as it warms.  If I didn’t know better, I would say it was a Malbec component blend.  Someone who I opened it with made bold charges of pending infection, but I am not so brassy as to suggest that, I am saying it’s a touch prickly and tannic in a way that makes little sense given the platform.  It’s like not only are you not riding the Matterhorn, but other mom is drinking Yellow Tail Syrah, also you are grounded.


pictured above: a beer no one gives a shit about that is far better than ABVMZ. srs.

I suppose some granular qualifications are in order to limit the scope of my petty bitching.  This is not a “holy shit avoid” type of beer, nor is it something that you would regret opening.  However, if that is the standard for something that people are shamelessly pandering as the second coming of the bean flicking messiah, let’s put those books firmly within the non-canon apocrypha.  See the Stars is better than this, easily.  Parabola is far better than this beer.  If you need a more direct vanilla analogue on which to quell you quivering bottom lip wavering with injustice, open a Vanilla Eclipse.  You will enjoy it immeasurably more.  If you need a clear parallel, something in the realm of Karl Strauss Wreck Alley Vanilla Stout.

After tasting this beer my buddy is offloading his, so I guess get while the getting is good.  I certainly wont cajole him into opening it.

11 thoughts on “Apple Brandy Vanilla Marshall Zhukov: top 5 beer of the year, in terms of disappointment

  1. Way to be a dick about a great beer for no good reason other than tanking trade value. Sorry your baby palate can’t enjoy a good beer as everyone knows this was top 3 at Hunahpu Day. Not sure what your problem is, but fuck you. Stop ruining beer.

  2. “…..hype driven return on ROI possible…” could have just said, “hype driven ROI possible” or “hype driven return on investment possible”

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