Widmer's Alchemy Project: Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout

Alchemy:  al•che•my noun \ˈal-kə-mē\ (Merriam Webster)

1: a power or process of transforming something common into something special
2: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

With the Alchemy Project, Widmer Brothers Brewing will show us that good things happen over time. In its newest series, Widmer will produce three specialty limited-release beers that are brewed to be cellared and enjoyed over time. Widmer will brew the same three beers each year. Barrel Aged Brrrbon was the first beer in the Alchemy Project. Earlier this week, Widmer announced that Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout would be the second Alchemy beer. The third beer will be announced this summer.

If you're into vertical tastings, this series was designed for you! I know I'm looking forward to collecting and tasting the evolution of these beers over the years.

The folks at Widmer Brothers were kind enough to send me two sample bottles of Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout '12.  Why two? One to drink now, and one to drink a year (or more) from now. They even included a bottle tag (pictured below) to make it easy to log and save tasting notes. I'll taste and post my initial Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout '12 review during the next week or so, and will follow-up with another review at least one year from now.

The full press release is listed below.  Prost! To improving with age!

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Second Release in Alchemy Project Series of Cellarable Craft Beers

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, visit www.widmerbrothers.com.


  1. Replies
    1. It should be making its way onto shelves now. Check in with a bottle shop to see if they have it yet. Let me know what you think!


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