Local microbrews aren’t always better

A.k.a. how I learned that Sprecher isn’t the god of brewing.

I’d been able to find trump beers for just about every beer that Sprecher makes:  IPA2 -> Stone Double Bastard Ale, Dopple Bock -> Spaten Optimator, Irish Stout -> Guinness Extra Stout, Abbey Triple -> Chimay Tripel.  But I’d never found an Imperial Stout that compared to the extreme smooth chocolate creaminess of Sprecher’s Russian Imperial Stout, despite having tried Samuel Smith’s and a host of other Export Stouts from England.

But I found one from Boston.  Samuel Adams Imperial Stout.  Fresh, it’s easily a match for Sprecher’s Russian Imperial Stout – thicker, heavier, sweeter, creamier, and much more aromatic.  But the real magic happens when you age it.  Sprecher’s Russian Imperial Stout is 8.5%ABV, which is high for Sprecher.  Sam Adams’ is 9.6%.  That’s huge.  Cellaring Sprecher’s RIS produces a sweeter version of basically the same beer.  Cellaring Sam Adams’ Imperial Stout for 6 months produces the absolute best Stout I’ve ever had!

Chad and the rest of Teh Table gang had a chance to taste Sprecher’s bourbon barrel aged RIS (called Czar Brew) at Teh Gathering in December.  It was excellent by all accounts.  Smooth, vanilla, bourbon whiskey, chocolate, coffee, all represented.  Sam Adams’ lowly 11oz bottle of Imperial Stout, after aging for 6 months, kicks the crap out of Sprecher’s Czar Brew!  Overwhelming sweet smoothness without any perfumy cloying syrupiness.  Excellent dark vanilla (think high-quality cavendish pipe tobacco), smooth dark coffee, smooth dark chocolate, bourbon whiskey, and overall greatness is all there.  The next time I see a bottle of Sam Adams’ Imperial Stout, I’m so buying it for another 6-month happiness!


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  1. #1 by Phillip on August 28, 2010 - 10:57 PM

    One thing I’ve learned in my cognac and scotch experiences is that sometimes the more well known and larger operations got that way for a reason. Not always, sometimes it’s just by marketing, but there are times when it’s by product.

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