Hoppin’ Frog – B.O.R.I.S. & D.O.R.I.S.

Boris the Crusher

B.O.R.I.S The Crusher
Tasting: February 15, 2012
Style: Stout (Oatmeal Russian Imperial)
ABV: 9.4%

The acronym B.O.R.I.S. stands for Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. There are a couple of variations of B.O.R.I.S. currently available. There’s barrel-aged B.O.R.I.S which is B.O.R.I.S additionally aged in (what else) bourbon barrels. There’s also D.O.R.I.S which stands for Double Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. All three of these beers arrived in better stores last week. At $12 – $16 for a 22 oz. bomber sized bottle, it might linger on shelves but not for long.

I regretted passing on buying B.O.R.I.S last year and I certainly didn’t want to miss out on my chance to try this critically acclaimed stout this year. I’ll note that the two largest beer community sites have it rated at 94 (Beer Advocate) and 100 (Rate Beer). I’ll also mention that it won a gold medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

As I’ve mentioned, often beer makers give more information on beer labels to tell you about what to expect before you take them off the shelf. There are generally three things that might be listed on a label, original gravity (OG), alcohol by volume (ABV) and international bittering units (IBU). This one is certainly a bodacious OG at an amazing 1.107 (or 25.3 degrees plato). I define OG in my glossary as a measurement of solids (mostly sugars) found in the beer after it’s “cooked” and previous to the addition of yeast. Anything with an OG of more than 1.070 would be considered dense with solids and should produce a beer high in alcohol and subsequently have a rich mouth feel. Lastly there’s IBU in stout the bittering comes from roasted grains and possibly hops or other ingredients like coffee and chocolate. At 60 IBU, I’ll peg this one as being of moderate bitterness.

So, in a nutshell, I’ll expect a creamy, moderately roasted stout with a some alcohol warming sensation. Now let’s check out the execution. Pours pretty black with a wisp of a coffee-colored head. Definitely full-bodied and sticky. Full of smooth roasted grains with flavors of dates and black cherries under a coffee and mocha backbone. The hops are surprising on the finish — in a nice way. Not as creamy as I expected and it does weaken as I work my way through. Alcohol is nicely concealed. Nice – B.O.R.I.S. gets 91 points.

D.O.R.I.S The Destroyer
Tasting: October 19, 2012
Style: Stout (Oatmeal Russian Imperial)
ABV: 10.5%

Fast forward a six months — October 19, 2012 to be exact. I’ve been saving my D.O.R.I.S. for a while now — and stumbled across a store earlier tonight that had quite a few obsolete gems. I picked up another D.O.R.I.S along with a 2011 Double Bastard (wow). So, here I am with my spare D.O.R.I.S.. This one is amped on the grains. Same thick body with ample coffee, smokey smoke, dark chocolate. The coffee flavor disappears about a third of the way through the bottle, but the other flavors are complex and I’m loving that nice chocolate sweetness. Once again, the alcohol is nicely concealed. I’m liking it – 92 points. Can’t wait to try the bourbon-barrel aged version of B.O.R.I.S.

B.O.R.I.S The Crusher (Barrel-Aged)
Tasting: March 2, 2013
Style: Stout (Oatmeal Russian Imperial)
ABV: 9.4%

Nice. Adds some vanilla influence but only pushes past the basic B.O.R.I.S by a point. 92 points from me.

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