Hangar 24 -- Pugachev's Cobra #3 (Second Release)
Allow me to write a bit on the nature and history of this bottle. First, I remember seeing this on the shelf back when I worked at Bevmo and being intrigued. Then I looked at the price tag: nearly $20. I won't bother writing the words that left my mouth, but they were a consecutive set of four letters words.
But when I heard that it was the last bottle on the shelf we would ever get, and that it tasted better than the wine Jesus made at the one party, I figured I should put down what amounts to half a tank of gas and give this bad boy a whirl.
It has impressive credentials: graduated to bottle in 2012. Sat around in a nice desk job until last night until he up and blew his top in defiance to the powers that be. A perfect little anarchist.
I popped the cork and what I saw shocked me: a brief plume of dark hops morph over the top before dissipating into thin air. This was going to be fun.
I poured the entire 750 bottle into my German beer stein, and this Imperial Russian Stout didn't waste time inviting me to join him. The first sniff revealed maple syrup, coffee, vanilla, oak and bourbon. A twinge of cherry jumped through the haze. The second sniff confirmed the previous scents, but I would add burnt cocoa.
The first sip was magic. The smell revealed the flavor perfectly, and yet it was so much more. The chocolate became first and foremost the backbone of the brew, yet the others heaped themselves upon the sword of destiny that pierced my heart. The oak and vanilla came through stronger, revealing the hidden possibility that this would go well with french vanilla ice cream.
Beyond the amazing taste and smell, the best part is the finish. A sweltering embrace of silky happiness. Seriously. This is so creamy, I cannot believe it isn't ice cream.
The alcohol is masterfully masked, and the bourbon burns only a bit after you've finished. The alcohol continues to burn a bit in your chest, but the flavors compensate bravely.
Alas, I just sat down and enjoyed the thing. Took me an hour to finish it. An activity this intimate that lasts at least an hour should be proof enough that you should find and buy this.
Buy if: sadly, if the above evidence hasn't convinced you, then enjoy your Coors.
Overall: seriously, magic.
Beer of the year thus far. 5 out of 5.