Russell North Star Stout

Reviewed by on January 30, 2015 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Russell Brewing Company

  • Origin: Surrey, BC, CA

  • Rated On: January 30, 2015

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: American Stout

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

North Star stout is part of the current winter version of the Russell mixed pack – no other expository info on the label.  Further digging reveals that they used the new-ish Polaris hop varietal in this brew.

This 341ml bottle pours a pretty solid abyssal black, with the barest of basal edges, and one fat finger of weakly foamy, but rather creamy and bubbly brown head, which leaves a bit of ocean swell lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of more bitter than sweet cocoa powder, weak bready caramel malt, indistinct sour black fruit, earthy anise, soft dry coffee bean notes, and weirdly peppy leafy, weedy hops. The taste is more chalky dark chocolate, gritty pale and caramel malts, Nordic licorice sans the salt, day-old coffee, a subtle phenolic yeastiness, and sort of spicy (in a mint leaf manner) and earthy hops.

The bubbles are generally supportive in their average fizzy and frothy ministrations, the body an adequate medium weight, and not particularly smooth, the hops and other ne’er do-wells trampling all over the roses here. It finishes off-dry, but barely, the cocoa essence persisting, along with a few of the previously mentioned side players, and the fallout of that sassy and strangely sexy Polaris hop metallic and herbaceous, um, ‘character’.

An interesting, and mostly well-made winter stout, the chocolate and hop notes really the only things worth continuing to yammer on about. So, yeah, a decently flavoured brew, the inborn mintiness of the hops more or less balancing out the confectionery malt, but let’s be serious here, no one is going to mistake this for After Eights, which I suppose is not a bad thing.

Brady White



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