In a blind tasting by BJCP trained experts, this beer rated


Wichita Brewing Co. Catherine III Russian Imperial Stout

Aroma: “A huge, rich nose with lots of complexity. Chocolate-covered cherry dipped in vanilla, with fruity esters, roast, and light raisin. Wet oak, smoke, and red wine, possibly scotch, with a touch of sourness. Some roasted malt and coffee with chocolate in the background, but the wood is what shines through.”

Flavor: “Strong oak presence—almost sawdust—with tannin and vanilla, and a huge smoky, roasty backbone. Some of the chocolate notes help to round things out, making it taste like a chocolate-dipped campfire. There is a medium spiciness toward the end of the sip that could be rye, and a light sourness mixes with a bit of alcohol in the finish. Light cherries linger after the sip.”

Overall: “A complicated and disjointed beer that probably has a good underlying stout base, but it gets distracted with too much oak and other interesting recipe choices. The roast and oak characters are not cohesive, and clash on many levels. There are fruity esters toward the end, but a larger alcohol flavor takes over. A lot of different flavors going on.”