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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout, Small Bottle Runs for Big Beer Ballers

This brewery has a reputation, at least in my tiny sad existence, for tiny bottle runs, and massive whales. I have been trying to land their ridiculous Berliner Weiss since before it was cool to drink 2% beer, with no success. Here’s my consolation, lucky bottle #229 of all 650 of them. I like my stouts like I like my steaks, MEDIUM. If you thought I was gonna go with “rare” or “well done” that’s low hanging fruit my friends.

I didn't pour it like an asshole, this beer must have PTFD, post traumatic fedex disorder. That's a thing.

Southampton Imperial Russian Stout, 10.5% abv

A: This is about as deep and murky as it gets, T5 levels of blackness on par with Abyss and Hunaphu’s. As you can see above, the carbonation is outrageous in the classic sense of the word: causing outrage. There’s no reason for that much foam unless its the late 90’s and you have some glowsticks. The lacing is like a Baroque armoir, ornate and frilly. After about 5 minutes this excitable asshole settled down and stopped weaving tales about his Fedex journey.

There's something amazing about this beer, and it feels like I am bothering it, but that's fine because I know in its mimicry is a deep strength.

S: This is fairly muted on the palate but got better as it warmed up, like those shy recent divorcees that always order the salad. There’s some chalky chocolate, cocoa, sticky vanilla, and a subtle macaroon. Then, wearing a cape and goggles comes COFFEECOCK to dominate everything at the end. Javatastic COFFEECOCK all over the place.

T: Well if you weren’t on board with Coffeecock from the last section, you can stop now because it just goes deeper in the same vein. That was not a euphemism you sicko. There’s a bitter drying at the outset that fades into a delicious baker’s chocolate like brownie batter, and as expected, coffee, well you saw that coming. I think this is slight underrated and perhaps its the small bottle count that makes people say fuck it, like when I decided I could live without the entire Step by Step DVD box set, I can imagine what happens in Season 3. Cody gets a horse or some shit.

You can cellar this beer for 10 years and you will still be an asshole for not sharing.

M: This beer has a huge sticky coating that lingers well after the first drink. The coating just sticks and does operation grill maker over in short order. The coffee and deep chocolate makes you feel like you were just mashing on some serious bowl licking for hours on end. Don’t act like the foul spatula of indulgence has not soiled your lips.

D: This isn’t exceptionally drinkable unless you have insatiable salivary glands and a post-menopausal rapacity for chocolate. That hits a fairly small niche, maybe the coveted pre-pubescent market is what they were seeking but I am pretty sure 9 year olds dont have Fedex accounts. Or…do…they….

fucking around with a beer this big seems like an inherently bad idea.

Narrative: Baron Southampton was the regal son of Lord August FitzRoy, but the cut of his jib was not unremarkable. He knew that this title was entirely created by his hateful old father as a fading sign of regal power in the days of an expanding merchant class. Just across the channel the barbarous franco-massacre had run the cobblestone streets red with the blood of an oppressive regime, leaving the largely mercantile class staring with despondence at the titled land owners. Baron didn’t give a shit. He spent the majority of his days walking the regal gardens, burying items of value in a spiteful manner to hide them, throwing rocks at the champion hunting dogs, and berating the help for streaking the sterling silver. This dark tiny master hated the opulence that he was subjected to and lashed out accordingly. He wished to be one of the masses and apprentice in a trade, press the rough hands of the working classes and see the Carolinas. Sadly, the common man would never look upon a Southampton, and he knew it. The Southamptons were few but poised, out of reach of the commoners but held just close enough to remind them of their failings. His cousin from Austria Count Berliner Vyass was the most acerbic asshole from his lineage. He did not even allow the proletariate to look upon him at all. They were rare and untouchable, that’s basically the, that’s the jist here, it’s what the underlying narrative is trying to convey, in case you missed it, just tossing you a bone.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout, 2009 vintage 10.5% abv

Russian Stoner

Russian Imperialist at its Finest

A:  It has a welcoming midnight pitch to it, inky, but that sort of oiliness like a junior 
year night where there is a promise of either disaster or complete fulfillment. YOU KNOW.  
Also, some khaki spider webbing and no middle carbonation to speak of.

S:  The coffee and burnt notes from the 2011 is absent in the 2009, this one is more chocolate
 with an incredibly integrated bourbon.  It feels like the way alcoholism is perfectly integrated
 into an undergrad experience but you enjoy every moment of the fulfilling moments. 
 The nose is like a cuvee of Black Tuesday and Chocolate Rain, and I cannot overstate how well 
this beer ages.  Take your $5.99 per bottle, buy a case, and leave it alone.  Seriously.

T:  The chocolate is just fantastic, it comes through like a highbrow ferrero roche with the 
almond and smoked notes lingering just long enough like a Carnival Cruise host, but enough time 
alone to get wasted in private.  The finish has a great coffee stickiness to it.  This just gets 
better and better the warmer that it gets. 
If I had a time machine I wou- “BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER THINGS YOU COULD DO” no, 
interloper, this would be first order of business.  Second order of business would be to beat
 all the endings of Chrono Trigger upon initial release.

M:  It isn’t overly oppressive, it coats nicely and leaves a silkiness similar to breakfast stouts
 but without the oats residue.  It is worth the hype and it is frustrating how cheap and accessible 
this stout is.  Why even drink other things?  This is essentially the Sculpin of imperial stouts and
 it deserves every accolade.

D:  Despite the heavy style and abv, I love this stout.  You could turn nay sayers into believers if 
only for a moment.  It simply is more chocolate and candy than stout.  I usually like to fight for
 an underdog but, it is clear that this beer needs no support, it is the reigning champion for a reason. 
 Go forth and witness the masses with this beer.

Narrative:  “Well Jim, they say his fencing style is completely unorthodox” “I agree, we have heard of 
epee’s but using a full on broadsword just seems a bit excessive for the sport!”  The crowd watched on
 as Svardson deftly bounced on the balls of his feet and parried the advances of his opponents with flair
 and skilled bravado.  “Oh my, I have never seen a blade shattered, much less followed by a half gainer, 
this is hardly within the skill manual”  Svardson wore a pitch black fencing uniform and continued to defy
 tradition.  The match was his, he spiked his massive blade into the foam tournament floor and clapped his
 hands together, showering the masses with cocoa nibs.  It was truly a majestic demonstration of the sweet 
and swift blade.