Hargreaves Hill R.I.S. 2020 & Baboushka '21

Russian Imperial Stout & Vanilla Milk Stout
11.2% & 6.0%

The annual release of Hargreaves Hill's R.I.S. (Russian Imperial Stout) is one that's been hotly anticipated by various Crafty team members for many a year now. The 2020 version has been deemed to have spent enough time in isolation to be released into the community, once again in 440ml cans, and, while there's some roastier characteristics familiar from the beer's forebears, they come smothered in a wave of glutenous, fudgy molasses, cocoa and figs. It's very much in the lineage of the RISes of old, although I doubt many of those coming our of English breweries in the days of Empire were as luscious of texture as this.

Its winter companion, Baboushka, has become something of a fan favourite and makes her debut in smaller 375ml cans this time around. The vanilla milk stout doesn't pour with as dense an appearance as I recall from past offerings, looking more dark ale or porter like, and with the combination of specialty malts, lactose and vanilla bringing to mind nougat and coconut, chocolate syrup and a hint of roast. Viscous of palate like an MSG-laced dish, but not as voluptuous as past iterations either. Session Baboushka, perhaps?

James Smith

Published June 26, 2021

Hargreaves Hill

Factory 60
64-86 Beresford Road
Lilydale 3140

(03) 9730 1905
CBCo Goldy

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