Hoppin Frog is a small brewery located in Akron, Ohio that continuously churns out some unbelievably great beers. Their BORIS the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout was a Gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in both 2008 and 2011. BORIS is an acronym used by the brewery that translates to Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. The name may seem a bit redundant, but, nevertheless it’s an awesome name for an awesome beer. The Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged BORIS Oatmeal Imperial Stout is essentially the same beer, but it is aged in oak whiskey barrels to impart additional flavor and character to the beer. This process takes the aforementioned awesomeness of the original BORIS to an entirely new level.
The Oak Aged BORIS pours just about as black as you’re going to find in any beer. When held up to light, there are some faint hints of brown around the edge of the glass, but it’s otherwise akin to staring into a dark abyss. There is about one and a half fingers of creamy, tan head which recedes quickly, leaving behind a few tiny bubble around the glass.
Upon first sniff it is immediately obvious that this beer has been barrel-aged. The wood and whisky aromas hit you the face hard. But underneath of that, there is a very complex profile. There are lots of dark, roasted chocolate and caramel malt, molasses, and a bit of vanilla. The whiskey also gives the beer a bit of an alcohol note at the end.
Drinking this beer is a delight. The whiskey is prominent in the flavor, as well as the intense wood flavor imparted from the barrels. It’s very heavy with the roasted malts, and the dark chocolate and caramel flavors are really mouth-watering. There is some molasses in there too, which impart some sweetness to the beer. There a very little kick from the hops on the finish, but, in its place there is certainly some alcohol flavor. My bottle was served a bit colder than it should have been, but I nursed it over the course of about 30-45 minutes, and as it crept towards room temperature the flavors really began to blossom.
Not only is Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged BORIS Oatmeal Imperial Stout a mouthful to say, it’s literally a mouthful. This is a big, heavy beer. Having said that, though, it’s remarkably easy to drink. The mouthfeel is creamy, lightly carbonated, and one of the smoothest beers I’ve every had.
Hoppin Frog is a relatively small brewery in Northeast Ohio, but they distribute to a good chunk of the Mid-West and East Coast. If you live in Ohio, you should definitely check these guys out and support your local brewers. If you live outside of Ohio, check for availability in your neck of the woods and treat yourself to this truly amazing brew.