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McNeill's Imperial Stout - McNeill's Brewery

Not Rated.
McNeill's Imperial StoutMcNeill's Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

52 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 52
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 8.83%
Wants: 12
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jason on 08-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 52 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by deBeers:
Photo of deBeers
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this from a growler that was purchased on the weekend. It was opened ealier so this was a bit flat but still an unbelievably smooth and tasty Imperial Stout. This has basically no head whatsoever. Whatever is there is the color of brown sugar and just as fine.

Coffe, blissful notes of roasted coffee! Black and viscous looking as engine oil; yet not so heavy in mouthfeel. This beer is very well put together. This must've been a labor of love as its definately a beer to lust after.

Sadly, these are my notes from last night and off the top of my head at that, but believe me, this is like catching up with an old best friend. Many thanks to the all involved with this creation. Enjoy it with friends on a cold winter eve.

Cheers!

deBeers, Nov 24, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Redbones. Frothy and creamy brown head that has an almost coffee colour to it, the brew is pitch black. Nice head retention.

Smells of alcoholic esters and dark fruit like black currant and plums. Some roasted grains come through with charred wood and dark chocolate. Very raw in the nose

Very smooth on the palate with a moderate carbonation that is textured very well within the full body. Sweetness is abundant though alcohol and roasted / hop bitterness helps to balance with out resistance. Fruity with black currant and ripe plum flavours. Alcohol is noticeable though subdued in a peasant way. Finishes sweet with a light lingering roasted flavour.

A very well balanced Imp. Stout, this is the way I like them and I am very impressed.

Jason, Mar 27, 2003
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 2006 Purchased at The Co-Op. The Co-op is staring to have some mighty fine beers available.

AP: Whoa!...this one was like pouring mud...it basically poured out in clumps of black. Extremely heavy looking. Totally 100% opaque. This dark, heavy liquid poured into an Oversize wine chalice created a rather thin brown head that dissipated quickly for the style. (It's a trait I've noticed with most of Ray Mcneill's beers) The edges of the glass are thick with a bubbly, brown head and only a scattered and thin cap.

Nose: This one is not as pungent as I would like, some of the best RIS I've had are very aromatic, even when not directly on top of it. However, there are nice subtle aroma's coming from my glass...Roasty-Dark chocolate malts with some very subtle but fruity-sweet and leafy hop scent.

Taste: This one is a big Roasted, smokey and bitter first hit with a burnt-chocolate and many other malted barley charachteristics. There is a very pleasant and complex fruity, leafy and semi-bitter hop finish. This is a East-coast hop-bomb stout...the hops really play a very big part in the flavor at the end. The Malt flavors don't really approach that classic "caramalized" type sweetness I've come to really enjoy from my big RIS. This version does display some very heady dark coffee flavors and an interesting balance of malt and hops.

MF: Big, heavy, full body look and feel with a clean edge that replaces the smooth effect sometimes found with these stouts.

DA: I dig this style and I dig Ray Mcneill's style of brewing, however, this is not one of my favorite version of the RIS. It's actually a bit more drinkable than some with an ABV under 8 %. I think this sTout will do well after some exteneded cellering.

GratefulBeerGuy, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of BillyB
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black. Black as night. Opaque. Thin tan head.
Looks like motor oil or tar.

Aromas of chocolate, whiskey, coffee, charred wood and a bit of hops.

Taste is chocolatey/coffee with some whiskey/alcohol characteristics.

Smooth,velvety mouthfeel. A bit oily.

Very nice alcohol warmth.

BillyB, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Vermonthiker. A good RIS other than it was berift of a head and was a bit sour. That sourness I have had before and was integrated into the taste experience, hardly noticeable later in the bottle as roasted barley and chocolate ruled. However it could also be indicative of some infection. Good mouthfeel, and damn drinkable.

Sammy, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of shbobdb
3.68/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout is a tricky style to do. With people routinely throwing in bourbon, coffee, vanilla, their cat, sassafrass, chocolate, crack cocaine, chickory, or some combination thereof, people expect *big* when it comes to Impy Stouts. To make matters worse, Stone has pretty much created a perfect version of the style that doesn't involve throwing in the kitchen sink.

This beer takes the 'normal' approach and does a fine job of it, despite being surpassed elsewhere. The beer pours jet black with a head that lasts and lasts and lasts. It also leaves a wonderful coffee-and-cream lacing, trailing the beer as I drink it. Wonderful.

It smells great. A strong blast of roasted barley and chocolate. Good stuff.

It tastes just like it smells, with a slight bite from the carbonic acid.

The mouthfeel is nice. It leaves a slightly clingy aftertaste/afterfeel but I like that.

Good stuff.

shbobdb, May 13, 2007
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a fantastic stout. Super black presentation, with virtually no head, just a slight ring around the lip. This is a wildy complex beer, Nose is slight, not overpowering. This all-star aspect of this beer is the taste. Crazy mix of chocolota roasted malts, a little vanilla thrown in, BAM all tap dancing on your tongue.

I've not been very impressed with this brewery/brewpub. However, this beer changes the playing field. SImply awesome.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Feb 18, 2006
Photo of edchicma
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmmm...what a great brew...strong for sure, but what flavor....black as night with a great head of chocolate. Roasted malt aroma witha hint of pine. Tatse was rich, smooth, beautifully malted with some coffee presence. Mouthfeel was dry, with an alcohol presence that was not opverwhelming. Nice hop presence on the finish, with a great drinkable quality for teh high abv.

edchicma, Feb 11, 2004
Photo of Jredner
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very intense roasted coffee and cocoa aroma with notes of dark cherries and plums. Highly aromatic beer. Deep black body and I was able to tease up a firm creamy mocha head that starts out two fingers thick and settles slowly to thumb thickness. Fore is very acidic from tons of coffee flavors. Mild chocolate/cocoa notes and very mild dark fruit notes, but mostly it is just the coffee flavors. A dissapointment after such a wonderful aroma. The body is also thinnish for the style, but the feel is still creamy so I feel I can put the palate at 4, but it is a low 4. It’s still a flavorful beer, but quite narrow with little of the rarer (In a lot of Impys) fruit notes I smelled in the aroma.

Jredner, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of CRJMellor
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pure black with not a shred of light. Thin ring of light tan head gives off chunky lace and uneven streaks of lace.
Aroma of milk chocolate, light coffee, dark citrus fruits and mdeicinal herbs.
Flavor of raisins, prunes, milk chocolate, some nuttiness and a very lighted roasted coffee.
Mouthfeel is hyper sweet start with some lactose notes also some medicinal alcohol and a roasted charcoaly hit with some resiny, gritty bittering on the finish complex and bold. Excellent brew.
Drinkability is very high. Complex tastes and solid transitions across the spectrum. Everything a big stout should be.

CRJMellor, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours to an ominous blackness filling the glass and letting no light through. Head is a milk chocolate colored creamy brick of a head standing 3 inches. Leaves considerable scattered lace as it fades. Nose is very zesty and vibrant, showing a bit of sweetness, soft smoke and meaty maltiness. An odd mix of smoked malt and sharp hop feel grace the tongue. This feel mellows on second sip as the beer shows much more smoothness. A long but even bitter feel develops on the back of the tongue. This resembles a bit of black coffee, bakers chocolate and smoked malt. The flavor of this beer is actually better at almost room tempature. Mouthfeel is a burnt bitter. Drinkability is nice.

SPLITGRIN, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this one in the Instant Gratification BIF, I think, if I am wrong I am sorry. But anyway I received this one recently and to be honest had never even heard of it before. I always appreciate getting a beer that I have never heard of, that always makes my day! So really nice looking twenty two ounce bottle that I let warm up a bit out of the fridge before decanting into a Terrapin Snifter.

Appearance - The pour was nice. A deep, thick, and very dark black. No light at all passing through this one at all. A decent sized, maybe one inch high of deep tan colored foam. Faded rather quickly and left behind a minimal amount of side glass lace. A nice coating though does appear on the sides of the glasses as you swirl it a bit.

Smell - The aroma was rich with bitter, dark, baker's chocolate and burnt coffee. Some hints of some alcohol notes, and a touch of cocoa. Some roasted malts sitting way in the back and as it warms some light hints of vanilla and molasses start to come up as well. Very nice, and a little bit heavy on the bitter notes.

Taste - The flavor was very interesting. Started out with a nice rush of cocoa and dark coffee like flavors. Somewhat astringent and very bitter, especially in the finish. Some alcohol notes were in here. Not sure the ABV on this one, but I have a feeling it was quite decent as there was a noticeable bit of bite to it. Some light vanilla flavor way in the back, and some light English like bittering hops mixed in. Nice dry finish capped it off well, really letting it come through nicely.

Mouthfeel - The feel was more laid back, and not as full and rich as you would have thought. But still, this was easily decent. I t thickened up a bit as you worked throughout.

Drinkability - Decent sipper for sure. A little heavy on the boozy side, but I still felt I had no issue with finishing this off. Wonderful texture as it warmed up.

Overall this was an excellent stout. Not my favorite that I have had, but still very solid and easily a good call. I love when something have heard little of before surprises me in a good way. I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

mikesgroove, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of pnkermiz
4.85/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is it - the mother of all McNeill brews. Get your ass up to Brattleboro and buy six of these 22 oz bottles. Smile at, but don't hesitate beause of, the lo-fi punk rock xeroxed label, then shove these bottles under your old gym shorts at the bottom of your closet (shove gently, that is). Ignore for two years, then open and enjoy. You will. You will.

pnkermiz, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of WeisGuy
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to calsbeek for this bottle.

a - pours a deep and dark black, ruby around the edges, one-inch deep brown head, decent retention and good lacing

s - pretty sweet smelling, lots of dark fruit, plum, blueberry and blackberry, hints of dark chocolate and very light alcohol notes

t - big flavors of bitter chocolate up front, midpalate has a lot of the dark fruits, some cherry and blueberry, the finish is fairly bitter with dark chocolate and light alcohol

m - medium-to-full bodied, low carbonation, pretty dry on the finish, a little alcohol warming effect

d - fairly drinkable due to the lower alcohol presence relative to other big stouts, but the taste isn't really all that interesting and the finish is pretty dry

Good impy stout, but nothing spectacular. Nothing bad about this beer, just kind of unmemorable.

WeisGuy, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of frank4sail
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange peel and roast coffee in the nose. Motor oil thick black pour the result is a slight orange beige head. Roasty malt sweet plum taste upfront. The second layer of taste includes a hoppy pine character with a dry tongued finish. The mouth is quite complex, it is full upfront with a clean dry finish. A very very nice beer.

frank4sail, May 21, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This powerful imperial stout pours pitch black with a brown head (considerably darker than average) fully diminishing, but very sticky. Aroma is wow.. Pungent, very bold cappucino, very hoppy and intense. Dark chocolate meets healthy plants, surprising notes of marijuana, needless to say the nose is particularly complex. In mouth, it's mostly about big chewy hops, almost agressive, but well-done, very full-flavoured indeed. Lingering green hops bitterness just lasts forever and will accompany your oldest cheddars to wonderland. Body is medium, solid. A very big beer folks and one that didn't seem overwhelming for little me.

Rastacouere, Feb 16, 2004
Photo of weeare138
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

much thanks to grassrootsvt for this...
Appears an inky pitch black with a small tan head that seems to fizzle out after a moment, even after a heavy handed pour.
Smell is of roasty dark malts, along with some bitter chocolate, potent hopping, molasses, and coffee.
Taste is of the same aromas with a bitter roastiness that makes this somewhat enjoyable but certainly not blowing me away by any means. Roasted malts, and bitter chocolate and espresso seem to stand out in this.
Mouthfeel, again, is roasty and bitter. Bitter due to the hops, coffee, and bitter cocoa.
Drinkability is ok. I think that this one may be a bit over rated by some but that's just my opinion. I like my imperials with a bit more of a sweet, fruity character and this one seems like it highlights bitterness and roastyness.

weeare138, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of aracauna
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Perfectly opaque. Dark head is sluggish and fades slowly. Aroma is surprisingly hoppy. There's a distinct coffee flavor. I wouldn't be surprised if they added coffee. Cream. Grassy, peppery hops are very strong. They must have hopped the hell out of this thing, but the hop profile is exquisite and oddly alluring, even though I prefer my Imperial Stouts to be a study in malt and yeast instead of a primer in good hopping. Low chocolate, almost no fruitiness compared to other Imperial Stouts.

aracauna, Apr 30, 2003
Photo of iceball585
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark black color, non-transparent, three finger thick dark brown lacy head that very slowly lowered

S- Mocha, milk chocolate, alcohol, spice, hops, slightly sweet

T- Milk chocolate, coffee, milky, vanilla, creamy, alcohol, fairly bitter, slight spicyness

M- Medium/heavy weight, medium/heavy carbonation, smooth, warming alcohol feeling near the end

D- Very drinkable for the ABV%

The alcohol in this beer will definatly creep up on you if you're not careful. Definatly good flavors though... another good beer from McNeill's brewery.

iceball585, Nov 06, 2007
Photo of Realale
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black and completely opaque. Tiny, but persistent, very fine dark brown head.

Nose is rich, sweet coffee, brown bread, and piney hops. Touches of citrus and candied fruit appear and add complexity. Nice milk chocolate notes, and a delectable orange zest aroma come out as it warms.

Very full in the mouth with plenty of hop flavor. The hops drive the palate, but there is malt a plenty of the rich dark brown bready sort. Lots of chocolate as well. Length is very good.

Very nice mouthfeel from the bottle-conditioning - just enough to lighten the malt fest a bit. Easily consumable in quantity. A very nice take on a hoppier Imperial. Big thanks to MJR for the lovely Christmas present!

Realale, Mar 12, 2004
Photo of dbalsock
3.3/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

appearance: black, black hole black, multidimensional black, with a beautiful brown head.

smell: flowery aroma, very hoppy with a full coffee aroma. not very sweet smelling, yet i can pick up on some chocolate coming through.

taste: coffee and flowery, much like the smell. the aftertaste is bitter and full o' hops. overall i pick up a little alcohol and have trouble deciperhing a few of the other tastes.

mouthfeel: very syruppy, thick and wonderfully bitter. i generally don't like something this thick and bitter, but for the style it is quite impressive.

drinkability: the hearty bitter nature of this brew makes it seem like a pretty big effort to quaff more than a pint in a sitting.

dbalsock, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of velo343
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured from a bomber into a goblet. Probably the single darkest black beer I have ever seen. Seriously, no like is coming through this one. A rich, creamy head that sticks around for a while, eventually subsides, leaving lots of lacing around the sides of the glass.

Smell - Very sweet, dark smell. Lots of esters and chocolates, like baking a plum pie and death-by-chocolate cake at the same time. A bitter, burnt coffee flavor just manages to squeeze through.

Taste - Initially, a very smooth, milky body with low carbonation. While the roasted malt flavor is present, it is not overpowering bitter and drying. Finishes with an extremely faint taste of smokiness and hop bitterness. No hot alcohol notes at all.

Drinkability - This is really an imperial stout that can be put back all too quickly. Super smooth and balanced, with no real standout flavors. Just good, roasted malt with a sweet body to bring it together. Compared to other breweries' RIS, fairly subdued but highly drinkable. Would be fantastic on cask...

velo343, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of goodbyeohio
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

same label as the picture, glueing technique seems to have improved as the label is flush flat on the bottle sans bubbles or tears. 22oz fresh.

black as night with a 1" mocha brown head of billowy, pillowy foam. appearance is where this beer excels. time shrinks the head.. but leaves strong cavernous lacing and at no time does the surface of the beer become exposed- a dark khaki cream top stays with the beer until the last sip.

aroma reaches out into the fire-roasted yet creamy dark stout profile. something salty, like pretzels, lingers in the background. te mcneills funk tart is present but minute, and allows the hops that contribute to said sourness to really shine. decent ris aroma and begs for a sip to be had. so i do.

nice body, creamy and rich with sexy ass mouthfeel. silky yet adequately carbonated, and not very abrasive in the physical hop resin presence. the taste, however, changes... as the beer goes further into the mouth. what starts out smooth becomes bitter and nutshelly in the finish. chocolate covered espresso bean bitterness is one saving grace essence found here, but the saltiness from aforementioned bar pretzels also strains the aftertaste. a bit too hoppy and "fresh".. and "english" for me overall. still a remarkable stout.

i just like mine (read: dark lord) sweet, deep malty, with creamed coffee (not black coffee, like this one). for fans of mcneills and/or sam smith's IS this is for you. otherwise, good but way overrated.

goodbyeohio, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of mcallister
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tough to brew an Impy that is as good looking as this. Midnight black with a delicous frothy mocha cream head atop. Fades into a bubbling shrine of lava. Thick sticky, bubbled lace around my snifter.

Nose is damn fine as well. Rich with bitter dark chocolate, hints of vanilla, bold dark fruits of currant, black berry, black mission fig, burnt caramel, black tea and a hint of bitterness. Great nose.

Big round and full of charcoaly burnt roasted malts. Very bold dark fruit flavors. Layers of complex bitter chocolate. Again black currant and black berry stand out with hints of black tea on the finish. On the topic of finish this one is long and tight. Mouth is full but slightly missing on the mid palate. Otherwise a top notch beer. Would love too be able to get more of this.

mcallister, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of scottum
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black as as a black beer can be with a full dark tan head resting on top. Imperial stout flavors are here with choco and coffee and toasty and more malty goodness than one can shake a stick at. There is a bitteeer undertone of the hops available in flavor aswell. Goes down so smooth. I always have a few of these rotating in my cellar. A Vermont classic.

scottum, Jan 08, 2004
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McNeill's Imperial Stout from McNeill's Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.