In 2013, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, Texas began what one assumes will be an annual tradition by releasing a commemorative anniversary beer in bombers. The first was a Belgian-style golden ale brewed in honor of  the brewery’s ninth anniversary, while Rahrzehnt, an imperial chocolate milk stout, was created a year later in order to mark year 10.

For 2015, Rahr & Sons once again started with an imperial stout for its 11th anniversary effort, though this time it chose toasted coconut rather than chocolate as an additive ingredient. The beer, which goes by Rahr & Sons XI – 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout with Toasted Coconut, or Rahr & Sons XI for short, debuted at the brewery in late October, after which it was made available to draft and retail accounts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Rahr & Sons XI bottle

Now just a few months later, a review of Rahr’s 11th anniversary Russian Imperial stout comes with the recognition that the beer may not taste exactly the same way it did fresh. Having had it both then and now, I don’t know that the two taste experiences were all that different, though there might be something to be said regarding the beer’s texture and feel.

In terms of a flavor profile, the beer offers a fairly potent dose of dark chocolate, roasted malt and a hint of coffee, with perhaps a tease of toasted coconut lying beneath the blanket of malt. The latter might add a faint bit of sweetness, but for the most part the beer gives off a dry, overall impression.

Rahr & Sons XI

Considering the beer’s body, Rahr’s 11th Anniversary is not a heavy drink, with my thoughts leaning more towards it being a medium-bodied brew. The carbonation is a little bright, which may impact that feeling somewhat, but I’m also thinking bottles I had in October seemed to have a bit more heft. Body tends to thin over time, and with no way to know how the beer was stored during every minute of its existence, it’s possible the effects of a few months of accelerated aging could be playing a role as well.

As for the finish, there’s a decent amount of bitterness coming from the dark malt, with slight hint of astringency and a shot of alcohol weaving its way into the aftertaste. None of these intrude to the point of being a distraction, though, and the point could be made that such things are more or less expected in varying degrees when it comes to this particular style.

Rahr & Sons XI
BREWERY: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Fort Worth, Texas
STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $11.99
RELEASE DATE: October 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: Three
If someone were to ask how I would dial in Rahr's 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout to fit my particular taste, I'd probably respond with requests for little more body, a little more coconut and a little less carbonation. Other than that, I don't know that there's anything else I'd change. The beer is warm and flavorful, with a good mix of malt flavors and a bold, bitter finish. The only disclaimer being that my instincts tell me I enjoyed this one more fresh, so on that note I'd encourage anyone holding onto a bottle to be sure they are storing it properly.
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