Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout.  Known as “The Crusher,” BORIS has racked up some awards at GABF taking gold in both 2008 and 2011.  I’ve been waiting to open up this bottle that has been cellaring in my basement for just over a year.

Pouring like dirty motor oil it was thick, black, viscous and only produced a think dark espresso head.  The head dissolves slightly leaving a ring around the glass with minor bubbles in the center.  Boris has some deep molasses legs which were noticeable when I swirled the beer.  Overall, it looks like a big stout.

When I popped the cap there was a very thick baked wort smell that came up from the bottle and glass.  It is very astringent.  There are roasted burnt malt notes but for the most part the biggest aromas were burnt caramel and black-strap molasses.  Dark plum notes covered in bakers and dark chocolate.  The oats gave the noes a slick quality and softened the chocolate bitterness.  I picked up a faint floral hop component along with a mild abv warmth.

The mouthfeel is oily, slick, velvety, and viscous.  It tastes how it looks and smells…palate coating.  The flavors really do come out in a great way towards the middle and back of each sip.  Up front, that baked wort quality really sets the stage for the astringent flavors that proceed.  These flavors build upon that  initial jolt either adding to the astringency or mellowing it out.  The dark bitter chocolate notes do both actually.  At some points, the finish and aftertaste they provide the sweetness which balances out the grains and hops.  On the other hand, in the middle of the sip the dark chocolate notes lend a chalky drying effect.  The oats give depth and overall help to smooth this beer over…especially the abv which is very well hidden in the taste.  Some hints of licorice and dark fruits ended up on the roof of my mouth in the aftertaste.

I was a little hesitant at first given the baked wort aromas, but after letting this beer open up a little at room temp I found BORIS to be a wonderful stout.  It is meaty, full bodied, strong, complex, and deep.