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St Petersburg Imperial Stout - Thornbridge Brewery

St Petersburg Imperial StoutSt Petersburg Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

136 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 85
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.81%

Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-22-2006)
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Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 85 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of thecheapies


3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Chocolate black with an inch of sudsy light tan head. Retention is awesome.

There's a little more than mild oxidation in the nose, but there are stout notes offered. Dark chocolate, berries, chewy toffee, cardboard, and English ale maltiness.

Richer flavors of roast, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, anisette, cereal grains, leather, red apple skins, cardboard, and winey fruits. Hints of bitter tobacco smoke. Carries age. Not bad.

A lot of crumpled carbonation with only a medium body. Light for the style, typical of the real-deal English version.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 14:56:54 | More by thecheapies
Photo of bishopdc0


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Novare for my uprising.

I subbed this for a RIS they were out of.

Served in a goblet the beer presents a nice lace and tan head.

The nose is roasted and smoky like a camp fire, not smoked meats. There is a definite sweetness but it is balanced with the smoke

The tastes is great, very english, creamy malt and a lingering roastyness. The roast reveal a nice smoke, almost peaty.

This beer reminds me of a local RIS that was aged in peat smoked scotch barrels very nice

Serving type: on-tap

09-24-2013 22:30:46 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of CrazyDavros


3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a large, light tan head.
Nose shows roasted malt, nutty and toasty characters, soft spicy and grassy hops. Also some oats and soft booze.
Flavours mainly concentrate of roasted malt and booze. Some of the spicy hops transfer through, leading to a very aggressive bitterness in the finish.
Carbonation seems a little aggressive too.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 04:47:58 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of superspak


3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours fairly pitch black color with a small dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, molasses, dark bread, light peat smoke, and roasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt notes; with decent strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, dark bread, caramel, toffee, molasses, light peat smoke, toast, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, molasses, toast, light peat smoke, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with good robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a moderately creamy, lightly slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good imperial stout. Good balance and complexity of roasted/dark malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2013 04:40:15 | More by superspak
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is black with a moderately-sized tan head. Decent retention, fair lace.

Nose contains a generous amount of dark fruit (grape, plum). There is also some anise and wood, some peat and smoke. Not much in the way of roasted malt, which is unusual. Still, a nice smell.

The peat is amplified in the flavour. The dark fruits are there as well (still grape and plum), but begins to take a bit of a back seat. Moderately bitter. Alcohol heat is noticeable, more than expected for the ABV.

Full bodied, but thinner than expected. A bit sticky and oily. Some alcohol burn. Low carbonation level.

Overall, an interesting RIS. A bit unusual, fairly tasty.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 17:01:28 | More by jrenihan
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, cocoa, and slight smoke aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, campfire, and band-aid flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the aromas and flavors on this one are a bit subdued in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2013 06:30:06 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Mebuzzard


2.65/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Well, high hopes for this one shattered. From the start this beer disappointed, but in all honesty it's not a good beer.

Pours an oily dark brown/cola with no head whatsoever. A vigorous swirl brings about a little bit, then it dies

Aroma of faded prune, wet leather and some cheap coffee. Thin

Thin feel, too, which does not help the flavors. It has a bit of staleness to it. The sharp prune is quick before it fades. Filling the void is some roasted caramel and instant coffee. A bit cloying with the prune skin.

not a fan. drain pour half the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2013 06:21:55 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of ngeunit1


4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a hint of brown and a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. Fades normal.

S - Sweet roasted chocolate and dark caramel malts, dark fruits, roasted coffee, molasses, black licorice, vanilla.

T - Sweet roasted chocolate and dark caramel malts, raisins and other dark fruits, roasted coffee, earthy hops, mild bitterness, black licorice, molasses, vanilla.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and a bit chewy with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Good RIS. Nice complexity, mouthfeel, and balance.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2013 05:54:36 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of heygeebee


4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BB Mar 14

Appearance - the usual black with two finger head. Lines of lace.

Aroma - roast malts, choc, espresso, some cigar box.

Taste - super smooth and rounded. Dark chocolate, hint of licorice. Pistachio. Some smoke.

Mouthfeel light carbonation, medium weight. Silky smooth, no booze.

Overall, this has the weight of a 10% beer. Well made indeed, hugely integrated and complex. Great drinking. Say no more.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2013 11:28:19 | More by heygeebee
Photo of DrDemento456


3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snagged a 500ml bottle of this for 5 bucks at the house of 1,000 beers.

A - Pours an expected deep pitch black with a 1/2 inch of deep mocha head. Some ruby hues at the base.
S - Faint roast coffee, aged licorice, chocolate malt and some more roast.
T - Not sure how old this is but damn is this balanced. Cold coffee, licorice sticks, some chocolate malts not too chocolaty since its not really really sweet. Mostly a tad bit of cloying roast and bitterness of the hops. It's a pretty tasty RIS overall.
M - Medium to thick in body, slick with a nice ABV to boot.

Overall this was a pretty interesting find along the same quality as Samuel Smith's RIS. Not sure if I would get it again since it was kind of expensive.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 01:54:12 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of eric5bellies


4.69/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from my Duvel pokal

A - Pours a thick black colour with a tanned head that stays the course and laces

S - Beautiful roasted malts, coffe and chocolate

T - Oh this is good. Really smooth malts, with nice expresso coffe and dark chocolate untertones. The finish is very creamy and smooth with no hint of booze.

M - Full body and low carbonation makes for a silky stout.

O - This is one of those RIS's that leaves you wanting more. Its very smooth and displays masterful balance. Proves that you don't need super high ABV's to acheive greatness.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2013 15:33:26 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a dense opaque black body with a tan lumpy film and some microbubbles race to the surface up the side of the glass.

S- The dark fruity esters have a rick but mellow black roasted malt aroma that grows and has a nice leathery finish.

T- The rich leather and dark dried fruit esters have some dark vinous character and a note of pipe tobacco before finishing with a black roasted malt flavor. There is some nice gentle roasted bitterness in the after taste and a dark cola note aswell.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no real alcohol heat noticed.

O- This is a classic RIS. Big and complex flavors but still very mellow and blended easy to drink and each sip has more character that the last. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2013 14:09:54 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of seand


4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark near-opaque brown, with a fair amount of tan head. The head dissipates to a thin spotty film with a thicker ring around the edge of the glass, which leaves pretty good lacing.

S: Thin compared to a big American style RIS; a bit milky, with a pleasantly sweet roasted malt background.

T: Relatively light sweetness, with a background of more complex roasted malt. Nice throughout, not too big, and very drinkable.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, good, and very different than a big American RIS. Worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 05:09:08 | More by seand
Photo of Bouleboubier


3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A bit of a letdown, considering how notable and how much I've enjoyed the other Thornbridge ales I've been introduced to in the past few months.

At no point in this sampling did I get the impression that this was in the style, as advertized. This strikes me as nothing more than a robust, English porter. And merely a serviceable, if not dynamically flavorful, one at that.

It presents itself as a dark brown liquid topped by a fleeting, pale-tan/ashy head. Some smears of lace. Mellow, dark-roast coffee and some cereal-like malt is about the extent of its aromas and flavors. Not much malt sweetness or rich complexity, nor supple roastiness warranting attention. Drinks real clean, light and smooth for what it's supposed to be. Perhaps some powdery wash in the finish. Weakly silky/oily, if you must.

I don't dislike this beer. Throughout the tasting, I was just trying to find memorable things to share about it - something to say, "You need to try this because ___". Just didn't happen. I still highly recommend their others I've had.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2013 06:57:23 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of MrKennedy


4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, into a Great Divide Cervoise glass.

Nice two finger pour of creamy looking tan foam on top of a black base that only shows the slightest hint of ruby when held up to the light. Good spotty lacing and nice foam retention.

Smell is chocolate. Mostly light milk chocolate and just a little bit of aniseed late on. Interesting mix of something enticing and something less enticing.

Taste comes through with plenty of chocolate and just a little bit of roast. Some smokiness later on and a little bit of licorice at the end. Good interesting mix. Nothing insane but everything does its job well and it works.

Really nice mix of smooth early and some bitterness late. Not the biggest body at all. But you shouldn't expect it from a 7.7% ABV Imperial Stout. Has an almost Oatmeal Stout feel to it and later some bitterness and spice from the aniseed kicks in. Does make this very drinkable, the fact that you know the first bit will be so smooth.

Overall it really works for me. You shouldn't expect some super sludgy RIS from this. It suits its specs really well and the 500ml bottle format and ABV mix really makes it a hard beer to turn down. Very enjoyable!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 08:16:26 | More by MrKennedy
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle for £3.49 from Peckhams (Glasgow,):
Mahogany brown colour with a few red tinges in there and a huge, three fingers tall head that is a thick looking, foamy, light brown with great retention.

Roasted malts and a sweet, burnt sugar aroma along with some coffee and chocolate. It also seems to have some darker fruits lingering in the background and overall it is a pleasant aroma that could have used being a little stronger.

A strong roasted malt presence initially but what follows is a lot sweeter than I was expecting, there is a touch of coffee along with some chocolate and sugar. The dark fruits from the nose are in the taste as well and there is some licorice complimented by some caramel; a very sweet and hoppy tasting imperial stout.

Lighter than usual for the style, falling somewhere around medium bodied with mild to medium carbonation levels. There is also more sweetness to it than your usual imperial stout.

Lighter in many ways than what I was expecting, the aroma was quite subdued but not exactly weak and the body was a lot lighter too but it was an excellent beer and one that I'd probably have again. The 7.4% alcohol content was very well hidden and goes by pretty much unnoticed.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 13:43:57 | More by flyingpig
Photo of crnipeter


2.33/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Cascades dark reddish-brown to form two finger thick persistent tan head with good stickage atop of opaque black body with ruby highlights.

I'm struck by the hoppy character of this beer: nose is dominated by pronounced herbal-leafy hops while malt, ester and alcohol aromatics remain completely subdued. Only minor unrefined sugar and roast show up as the beer warms.

Aroma transfers to the flavor that exhibits solid roastiness allied to aggressively-high hop-bitterness to yield dry finish. Hops are leafy-herbal in nature and overpowering to my liking. Aftertaste features virtually endless bitterness. Surprising is the absence of chocolaty, coffee-like flavors of roasted malt/grain nor there are any specialty malt qualities such as caramel,bread or toast.

Malt is well attenuated and light body (for imperial stout standards) mouth-filling due to high carbonation yet not too airy.

Overall, a bitter stout with emphasis on herbal-leafy hops and roast.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 16:13:12 | More by crnipeter
Photo of TheRealBigC


3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a lucious tan head with excellent lacing. Smell is average at best. Taste lacks complexity for a RIS, but is nonetheless pleasant. It's a bit hoppier than most in the style, and you can definitely tell when you're burbing. Feel is a little lighter than I like too. When it comes to Imperial Stouts, I like them big, rich, etc. It's worth a shot, but I'm probably going to pass on it next time. $8 for an 11oz. pour of this is kind of a rip off.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2012 02:53:54 | More by TheRealBigC
Photo of kylehay2004


3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single finger head on a deep brown body with excellent lacing. Aroma is very weak with mostly earthy hops and some burnt ambers but disappointingly light. Roasted malts, coffee grounds, earthy hops and pine. Medium body and light to moderate carbonation. I was disappointed in this one after reading reviews. It's too light and under flavored for me.

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2012 23:42:42 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bb 28.10.13

A: Black with a tan head, some retention, great lace.

S: Smoky (peaty whiskey aroma), salted licorice, coffee, roasted nut.

T: Ahhh the peat... it compliments the roasted malt, but it's bordering on brash. Burnt caramel, roasted nut, dark-roasted coffee, good bitterness.

M: Moderate to full body has a light chalky acidity.

O: Very enticing, but the peat and roasted acidity weighs on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2012 00:35:06 | More by Derek
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - almost impenetrable almost black, short head held it own and left random lacing
S - brown sugar, dark chocolate, a milky sweet aroma, all very mild
T - nice mix of cocoa, coffee, and toffee maltiness, finishes with a mix of sweet and charcoal flavours
M - super easy drinking and no hint of the 7.7%, just a little too thinned out by the alcohol to be a strong stout
O - definitely tasty and easy to drink, its somewhere between and RIS and a regular stout in my opinion, none the less worth a try

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 04:04:14 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of ThisWangsChung


4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

4 oz. poured into a snifter at Churchkey. From notes.

A: Pours a nearly pitch black color, with a one finger mocha color head with great retention and superb lacing.

S: Char, leather, dark fruits, hints of chocolate and coffee, and a decent peat smoke note. Slightly barleywine-esque.

T: Roast and char dominate, but never ruin the balance, typical of most European imperial stouts. Opening flavors are more char dominated, giving way to a fruity middle and a bitter roasted coffee aftertaste. Lesser notes of chocolate, peat smoke, and caramel are found when I concentrate finding them. I'm impressed, this is showing solid complexity for a dinky 4 oz. pour.

M: Creamy, at first - before the roast notes unleash a strong drying sensation on the finish. Despite the heavy dryness, it's quite delicate on the tongue, giving it excellent drinkability.

O: Oh, I really enjoyed this one. This has a lot of flavor for only 7.7% ABV. Dare I say this was the best beer of the night (even over Parabola?) Worth hunting down.

Serving type: cask

06-17-2012 05:22:17 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of dry roasted malt notes with light coffee notes. Taste is a mix between some very dry notes with some roasted malt and some dry coffee bean notes with some dry chocolate notes. Body is about average with a high-level of carbonation for style with no alcohol apparent. Interesting beer thought a bit too dry for my personal taste.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 19:57:28 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Light coffee nose and flavor is malty coffee with a burnt coffee finish. Good RIS but not enough body and ABV is too low. $8.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 21:57:33 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Jeffo


3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at Geers in Gent a while back.

From a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Poured very carefully, the clear brown liquid yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, light mocha colored head with great retention. Black body and higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly recedes to a good, thick foam cap. A solid foam cap remains until the end and leaves lots of nice lacing down the glass. Great lacing, but a little light in color for the style.

SMELL: Decent dose of roasted malts, leather, licorice and tobacco in there. Some light smoky and peaty notes as well. Interesting, though it could be a touch more forthcoming.

TASTE: Roasted notes and generous amounts of peat smokiness and licorice up front. Peat through the middle again into a bitter tobacco and smoky finish. Medium and lingering aftertaste of bitter chocolate, peat smokiness and tobacco as well. Follows the nose well and shows a little more balls.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry. Could use a touch more weight for the style, but plenty creamy and smooth on the palate.

OVERALL: This is definitely an English style RIS, no doubt. A much more licorice and tobacco dominated stout than many of its American and Belgian counterparts. If that’s your style, then you will enjoy this one, as the nose and flavor doesn’t shy away from anyone. It’s bold, complex, and well put together. A solid brew, but given my personal tastes, this one came in last out of the three Thornbridge sampled.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 12:26:36 | More by Jeffo
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St Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.