Drunken Speculation

#61 Feral Brewing Boris Russian Imperial Stout

This post is part of Crazy Cellar Clearout Week, where we review some of the beers in our cellar so we can start 2014 fresh. You can see all the beers we’ve reviewed in 2013 here.

feral borisBoris was released to a fair degree of fanfare earlier this year. I managed to snag a couple of bottles at Plonk in Caberra. I thought it’d be a lark, even though it was obviously going to be a big ask to drink it, let along enjoy it.

As Feral no longer has anything on their website about Boris, I am obliged to borrow from the wordsmiths at Crafty Pint:

It’s also the second release in Feral’s occasional Brewpub Series, meaning you can take Boris home with you. If you do, you’ll find that beneath his iron jaw lurks a beer of lush complexity… there’s little that excites us more than pouring a thick, oily, black beer into a glass and watching a deeply dark brown head forming. That this one follows up with all manner of roast, mocha, chocolate and molasses flavours – not to mention plenty of hops to balance the dark malts – and perhaps even a hint of leather to remind us of our beloved Rasputin, means we’ll be making this a Russian winter.

The pour is viscous and tar-like, which should set alarm bells ringing in my vital organs. Black as a raven, Boris is opaque with a creamy, slightly caramel-coloured head, which retains well. Unfortunately, there’s an initial smell of rancid milk. As a bit of time passes, the aroma evolves more into chocolate and more like condensed, than lumpy, milk.

I’m definitely getting condensed milk on the taste, along with some serious heartburn in the making. Boris is not as bitter as I would have expected. There’s no hops nor yeast phenols to be speak of: just a fistful of malt, coming along to fuck your palate up.

Despite the anticipation surrounding Boris, it has almost nothing I look for in a beer. It lacks balance, being a wall of malt and boozey. I have no desire to drink this more than once and at 9.1%, you’ll probably regret having more than one of these in a sitting anyway. Most importantly, Boris lacks a pleasant aroma and taste.

As someone commented on my Untappd feed, “It’s like they tried too hard”.


  • Website
  • Genre: Porter/Stout
  • Regionality: Baskerville, WA
  • Strength: 9.1%
  • Rating: 1 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 2.5 / 5
  • Plus: Intriguing apperance
  • Minus: Overwhelming
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