Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ölbeat 147: Plevnan Siperia Imperial Stout 2016 vs. 2015

Brewery: Koskipanimo
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8,0 %
The 2015 senior on the left, the 2016 junior on the right
Out of curiosity and thinking about the nearing Finland's Independence Day, I tried a fresh and a one year old bottle of Plevnan Siperia. This Imperial Stout from Koskipanimo brewery in Tampere has been selected as the best beer in Finland several times and it tops the Finnish beers at Ratebeer as of now (= 6 December 2016). People seem to have different opinions on if you get the best out of Siperia straight from the tap, from a fresh bottle or after some time in the cellar. Well, I don't care about other people's opinions on this kind of things - I had to test it myself.    
First up goes the freshman...
What about the beer (2016)?
Colour is black with a large beige head. Aroma has orange, mild roast and chocolate. Taste starts with dry roasty bitterness. Roasted malts and bitter grapefruit take over. Near the finish powerful citrus flavours step in front. Aftertaste has lasting grapefruit bitterness and roasty dryness.

Citrus-grapefruit-aroma packed, strongly bitter Imperial Stout. The roast comes truly out only in the beginning and in the finish. There are no signs of coffee or chocolate flavours one expects from "an Impy". If this was a Black IPA, it would be great. As an Imperial Stout it falls behind some Finnish Imps. Very tasty brew in any case.
...followed by the sophomore.
What about the beer (2015)?
Colour is black with small beige head. Aroma has sweet citrus (mostly orange), chocolate, coffee and roasted malts - truly delicious scent. Taste lifts off with dark chocolate and soft citrus bitterness. Sweet soft roast and gently sweet bitter grapefruit-orange juice linger around the mouth. Black coffee and dark chocolate rise slowly. Near the finish roasted malts and bitter grapefruit step in front. Aftertaste has fruity bitterness, roasty dryness and alcohol warmth.

What happens when you don't expect much? You get blown away. For me, Siperia straight from the tap is "just a bitter stout". Fresh from bottle it's a decent Imp with a Black-IPAish strong citrus bite. Cellared for one year? Man, the flavours: bitter and sweet citrus, gentle & striking roast, coffee & chocolate. One year turns this one to a specially delicious world class brew. 


At first we'll have to get something aggressive to match the heavy citrus and roast flavours of the 2016 Siperia. In Finnish, there's a saying: "Siperia opettaa." (roughly translated "Siberia educates"). The saying goes back to the time from the start of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, when criminals and contrarians were sentenced to labour camps in Siberia. The idea was to break the human.

Mokoma: Nujerra ihminen (YouTube)

From the 2007 album Luihin ja ytimiin, the song was written by Marko Annala and Kuisma Aalto.

Then there's the richer older version. The illusion of just simply crushing the human with pure force has vanished. Instead they offer you a dream of something or someone beautiful that seems so close in the dream. But you wake up in the real world where there's no sign of the dream. And that crushes you more than... The glass is empty. Damn. 

Nightwish: Ever Dream (YouTube)

From the 2002 album Century Child, the song was written by Tuomas Holopainen.