Baba Yaga Imperial Stout

Review Date 4/2/2021  By John Staradumsky

Baba Yaga is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. In classic Russian mythology, Baba Yaga is a (sort of) witch that lives in a hut that walks on chicken legs. If you run across her, she might help you find your way home; she’s just as likely to eat your kids, too. As I said. You never know what you’re gonna get.

My most vivid recollection of Baba Yaga was in musical form, from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at An Exhibition. Today, though, Baba Yaga is back in another way-this time as a beer. I’m talking about Bear Republic Baba Yaga, of course, an Imperial Stout rewed with spices. Bear republic says:

We added chocolate to this release of Baba Yaga Imperial Stout, layering in cacao, caramel malts, roasted barley, black molasses, and a touch of licorice root for a lingering sweetness.

So, apparently, Baba Yaga imperial stout is as variable from Bear Republic as she is in folklore. Amusing, that, and apropos. This is the first time I have come across a Russian Imperial Stout named for Baba Yaga, and that is long overdue.

Ingredients from the website:




Bear Republic Baba Yaga has an alcohol content of 12% by volume. The beer has 80 IBUs and I paid $4.49 for my can from, not that much more than the $14.25 a 4-pack you would pay at the brewery or the $13.99 for the same from Total Wine. Since I cannot but Bear republic beers in Georgia, I am happy to get this. They were a favorite of mine in the 90s. Bear republic calls this a chocolate imperial stout, but I will classify it simply as an imperial stout. My can is stamped BB 01/14/22.

Bear Republic Baba Yaga pours to a jet-black color with a thick creamy tan head of foam and a rich nose of roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, and caramel. Taking a sip, the beer is full in body, rich and roasty with thick layers of caramel, bittersweet dark chocolate, cocoa, and molasses. It’s full, too, with spicy licorice notes, nigh permeated with them, and finishes with deep roasted notes and big boozy alcohol warmth. This is amazing, it is expertly layered with all the flavors, none dominating, all adding to the complexity of the beer. Molasses is omnipresent as well.

Outstanding! I look forward to more of this one, in whatever iteration it appears. Bear Republic Baba Yaga is like a box of chocolates indeed, and in more ways than one.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned