Widmer Brothers Brewing Releases Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout

March 30th, 2012 · No Comments · Oregon Breweries

I’ve said many times to many people that I love it when larger regional breweries continue to experiment and release beers that appeal less to the masses and more to the beer geeks in the crowd. It’s a tough balance for larger breweries, where the bottom line is often looming and it can be easy to narrow the focus of your beer lineup rather than experiment and expand. So, any time I see a release like the new Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout, it makes me happy. I had a chance to try this the other night, and it’s a solid beer that definitely has potential for aging, which is what they intended for it.

Imperial Stouts typically fall into two categories: either big, sweet and intense, or fairly dry, hoppy, and deceptively smooth. This one falls into the second category. Chocolate flavors from the roasted malt dominate the taste with a bit of coffee as well. The raspberries add just enough flavor to let you know they are there, but in no way are they too intense. It’s quite dry, and even as a bit of a self-proclaimed hophead, there is a significant bitterness for a stout. The flavors aren’t all that deep and complex, but it will be interesting to see how this changes with age. At 9.3% ABV, this is a sneaky one that drinks much lighter than that ABV.

Look for this in 22oz bottles starting on April 9th, as well as on draft.

Here is the full press release:

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 28, 2012 – Widmer Brothers Brewing has released Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’12, the second offering in the brewery’s recently launched Alchemy Project, a series of three bold, vintage-dated craft beers that can be enjoyed immediately, but are brewed to improve with age.


Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout was first brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in 2008 for the Portland Holiday Ale Festival. In the summer of 2011, Widmer Brothers brewers discovered a barrel of the initial batch, which was known as Babushka’s Secret, in the brewery’s cellar. After tasting the beer and realizing how well the beer aged with time, the brewing team decided to brew the beer again as part of the Alchemy Project.  Beginning this year, Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout will be released once a year as part of the project.


“This is our unique interpretation of the Russian Imperial Stout style, with the addition of red raspberries during the fermentation process,” said Ben Dobler, brewer at Widmer Brothers Brewing. “The use of Midnight Wheat gives this beer an extra layer of complexity, and the antioxidant-rich red raspberries give this beer storage-ability and age-ability.”


Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’12 will be available in 22-oz bottles and 1/6 barrels beginning April 9.


About Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’12


Tasting Notes

  • ·         Slight fruit tartness
  • ·         Smooth mouthfeel
  • ·         Chocolate and roasty aromas
  • ·         Hop complexity to balance malt character



  • ·         Malts: Pale, Roast Barley, Caramel 60L, Midnight Wheat, Chocolate Malt
  • ·         Hops: Alchemy for bittering, Willamette and Cascade for aroma
  • ·         Red raspberries



  • ·         Original Gravity: 21.5 P
  • ·         Apparent Extract: 5 P
  • ·         IBU: 70
  • ·         ABV: 9.3%
  • ·         Color: 90 SRM


About the Alchemy Project

In late 2011, Widmer Brothers Brewing launched the Alchemy Project, a new series of high-end, bold, vintage-dated beers that are brewed for cellaring. Like fine wine, Alchemy Project beers can be enjoyed immediately, but the process of cellaring and aging these beers contributes to enhanced flavor profiles and complexities as the beers evolve with time. This series showcases that evolution.


The series was launched with the release of Barrel Aged Brrrbon ’11 last year, a follow-up to Barrel Aged Brrrbon ’10, which was initially released as part of the Widmer Brothers Brothers’ Reserve Series. The Alchemy Project will include three specialty limited-release craft beers each year. Each will be released in limited quantities and the same three beers will be released every year. Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout is the second release in this series. The third beer, which will be released this summer, is yet to be announced.


About Widmer Brothers Brewing

What started as a dream for two ordinary brothers who just loved beer has now become a reality for two ordinary brothers who still just love beer. Kurt and Rob Widmer helped lead the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when, in their 20s, they dreamed of brewing unique interpretations of traditional beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the first American-style Hefeweizen; today, the unfiltered cloudy beer is the company’s signature brew and one of the best-selling wheat beers in the country. Based in Portland, Ore., the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including Drifter Pale Ale, Nelson Imperial IPA, Rotator IPA Series, Drop Top Amber Ale and Pitch Black IPA. For more information about Widmer Brothers Brewing, visitwww.widmerbrothers.com.


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