Fort George releases Matryoshka 2020

Ahead of stout month, but just in time for Christmas, Fort George Brewery is releasing Matryoshka its barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Matryoshka is the most anticipated beer in the brewers Sweet Virginia small-batch series. The name Matryoshka comes from the Russian word for wooden nesting dolls. And as that name implies, this barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout is released in layers throughout the winter. The brewery begins with the straight bourbon barrel version of Matryoshka, which drops in wax dipped bottles on Saturday, December 7th at the brewery.

More from a press release:

“The barrels for this year’s Matryoshka are actually pretty similar to previous years, in that they were all relatively young bourbon barrels from Kentucky,” explains Dave Coyne, Fort George’s barrel master and the illustrator for the Matryoshka bottle series. “All of the base Matryoshka aged in Buffalo Trace barrels, which works really well because it’s such a smooth bourbon that’s not too hot. And the oak was still in great shape and had lots of life left, to help add complexity to the beer.”

You’ll be able to buy Matryoshka 2020 bottles at the brewery starting Saturday, December 7th, and around the Pacific Northwest soon after. This year’s Matryoshka is deceivingly smooth at 12.7% ABV, with notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cardamom, and licorice.

“We’ll have six additional variations of Matryoshka this year,” Dave continues. The Matryoshka variations are released at The Aftermath, which is on the Sunday following the Festival of Dark Arts. “Along with the fun adjunct ingredients, we have a variety of barrels that we used for aging the variants. There’s a maple bourbon barrel aged version with even more maple syrup added, and then that same beer with coffee beans. There are Westward Whiskey barrels aged with vanilla, then vanilla + hazelnut, then vanilla + hazelnut + blackberries. The sixth variant is a Woodinville Rye Whiskey version, with ingredients still to-be-determined.”

One last question, Dave: If you were a barrel aged stout, what kind of barrel aged stout would you be?

“I’d be a 15% ABV bourbon barrel aged stout collaboration with Alesong, aged with vanilla and cinnamon. Hint hint, wink wink, blatant foreshadowing.”

You’ll have to wait for Stout Month 2020 to get your hands on that one.

Matryoshka 2020 releases on Saturday, December 7th at Fort George Brewery. Look for limited bottles and draft around the Pacific Northwest later in the month. February is Stout Month at Fort George. Stop in any day that month and find tap lists overflowing with dark and delectable beers. The Aftermath will take place on Sunday, February 16th, 2020. Look for all six Matryoshka 2020 variations to be released, along with very limited bottles of cellared Matryoshkas from winter 2017, 2018, and 2019. 

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: