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Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout - Thornbridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Saint Petersburg Imperial StoutSaint Petersburg Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

96 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 96
Hads: 177
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 16.92%
Wants: 8
Gots: 15 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-22-2006

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 96 | Hads: 177
Photo of crnipeter
2.35/5  rDev -40.7%
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.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.68/5  rDev -32.3%
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.

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Photo of nick76
2.88/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The appearance is dark brown almost black with a tan head. The aroma is sweet and toasted (almost burnt) with lettuce, carrots, and a soapy element. There are also hints of coffee and chocolate but not enough. The taste is like the aroma which is not great even with a touch of licorice in the finish. The palate is a bit thin for the style. The beer is not very special or drinkable.

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Photo of bobhits
2.88/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Medium body with a tight but thin head. Swirling the beer in the glass shows a lot more carbonation than the head presents and makes seeing any lacing hard. A second pour yields a far better head. Thick, creamy, milk chocolate with lacing.

Smells of peat, light malt. There's not much here to be honest.

Peat is far more subtle in this taste than the glass. The beer is over all a sweet caramel, light chocolate, smoked flavor. Sadly far more subtle than I would have hoped for. I must say the flavors aren't nearly as bold as most imperial Russian stouts. I also should note that this is about least bitter stout I've ever had. No strong burnt flavors, hops, or anything else really jumping out. Sweet chocolate and caramel malt with some peat.

This beer lacks a bit of body for the style in addition to flavor. As a result the mouth is a bit watery. Don't get me wrong this is smooth and somewhat creamy, but again for a big style beer and with as much carbonation this one falls short.

I suppose watery and light in flavor are good for drink ability but again for the style I don't want a thirst quencher, I want a nice light night sipper.

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Photo of biglite351
3.17/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - considerable red around the edges. Creamy light tan head.

S - malts, chocolate, with some bitter dried fruit in the finish.

T - chocolate, roasted malts, a little fruit and alcohol in the end.

M - mild coating with a tingle on the tongue and back of throat.

D - maybe one but I would probably go with something else before long.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.34/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of claspada
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Aromas are typical of the style; roasty with some light cocoa coming through underneath. No hops noticeable here.

Taste is roasty, lightly acidic, almost smoky too with hints of cocoa & plenty of dark fruit & fruity esters. The smokiness lingers here in an unpleasant way and as this warms the unpleasant tastes become more prevalent and the alcohol notes also become more intense and dominant.

Mouthfeel is soft but very lively, silky but prickly on the tongue, with some warmth in the back of the throat. Overall I did not enjoy this and it is definitely not worth the inflated price tag in my opinion.

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Photo of Mar02x
3.41/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wednesday 28th of December 2011 I had a brilliant family tasting session at my uncle Peter place . So thanks for that. And yes every one, I have a beautiful family in which good beer is highly appreciated.

A - A pitch brown ale mixed with yeast, on top there floats a relative white head which I think is amazing for a RIS.

S - A faint smell of chocolate and musty malts.

T - Tones of coffee, chocolate stroke my tongue, but its all a bit to watery and thin. Sorry Thornbridge the good stuff comes from America these days.

M - A soft carbonated beer with a light bitter added.

O - Not bad for an English RIS, but really nothing compared to the American shit (excuse my language) that I experienced lately.

I had antother try on the 7th of February 2012. With thanks to Edwin de Cock (yes, in Holland it is a normal name) I was able to try this beer. Erwin is the chairman of our 'PINT' tasting group at 'de Mug'. De Mug is ABT beer pub located in Middelburg, The Netherlands. Every first Tuesday of the month we blind-taste 6 beers in one particular style, this time it was stout and porters.

A4.5 - A nice creamy beige foam on top of a deep red, and apparently clear, beer.

S4 - Chocolate and a strong fruity hop presence.

T4.5 - This is more like a black IPA, the hop presence is strong and the ale is a bit sweet.

M4 - The body has a medium carbonation.

O4.5 - A very nice stout. I liked it way better this time. i don't know why. Maybe it was the blind test or maybe it just stood out in the line up this evening.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.41/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of Bung
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml. In New Belgium snifter. Very dark cola pour, thin later of off white.

Aroma, toasted malt, chocolates, some nutty caramel. Herbal hops.

Taste, Roast malt, dark chocolate. Smoked leat, anise. Piney hops in the middle. Finish bitter, ashy roast. A lot going on but a little harsh.

Lighter mid, a little thin. Good carbonation. If this were a little creamier it would reduce the harshness. Lower abv, drinks all right, just a little rough. A good English style imperial.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

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Photo of Brabander
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

We had this beer at tasting two weeks ago at my cousin Peters place. Great beers and great fun.

This beer was poured in my Essen Christmasbeerfestivalglass (what a word for wordfeud!)

This beer is a bit disappointing when you look at the RIS bottles i had before.

The head is nice and dark, just like the fluid. Roasted malts with a very soft taste. This beer has no depth and that is what makes this beer a 'lower ranked' RIS. Good as a first try when you never had RIS.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out as a dark black but in the direct light you can almost see through it. The head was very thin and didn't have much in way of lacing. The smell of the beer had a roasted aroma coming off of it. The taste was average really, it wasn't strong enough in flavor to be a RIS. The mouthfeel was like drink a flat coke. Overall not really the best when it comes to RIS's.

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Photo of plaid75
3.51/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, New York.

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a leathery malt with a noticeable smokiness.

The taste consisted of a light roasted malt, dark chocolate and subtle caramel.

The mouthfeel was thin for the style with a strong astringency.

Overall a decent stout. Hardly a RIS however.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of IRONRakkasan
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one was a really good representative of it's style. Plenty thick, super dark...barely any head.

It's got a really good burnt malt flavor, with an initial sweet note that stood out. This guy also hides it's alcohol content extremely well.

The only criticism I can think of is a mediocre after taste in the beginning that quickly disappeared.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.66/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cola with cranberry highlights glisten in the light when poured. The deepest of black sits menacingly with a generous 2 finger bronze-tan head that was dense and bready. Tiny effervesce bubbles rise and collect like oil ball bearings, building a head of substantial size and retention. Thick foamy lace builds on the glass with an almost full coverage.

S: Roasted barley, sweetened coffee with a bit of sweet dark fruit of plums come on the nose. The strength was light, a bit timid per style and not as intimidating as its visual or flavor aspect.

T: Nice earthy bitterness with a sweetness of burnt currant. Bready and thick with dark roasted coffee grounds, dark licorice and smoked burnt wood and humus. Acrid, yet displayed flashes of fruitiness with a nice alcohol and earthy moist bitterness greeting the tongue upon the swallow.

M: Tingly carbonation, creamy feel with a full body and a fade of burnt bitterness, moist coffee grounds and campfire minerality.

D: Overall decent level of drinkability. Dark burnt bitterness but countered with a fruity nature makws this slide down rather easily per style. A bomber sits well here.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black with a tight tan head that takes it time receding. Looks like a quality imperial stout.

S: Dark, bitter chocolate, strong coffee, roasted grain, and tart, herbal hops are present on the nose. Smells hoppier than expected.

T: Opens tart with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, burnt toast, dark fruit, and bitter hops. The finish is complex and satisfying with an interplay of chocolate and hop notes.

M: Full-bodied, thick, and velvety.

O: This is a solid stout, though I have a feeling that I may have consumed it too young. I would have preferred to see a better balance of hop and malt flavors.

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Photo of tlema1
3.69/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: blackish brown with a very thin head even with a vigorous pour
S: roasty, some chocolate
T: very well balanced, nice roasted malt taste with chocolate overtones
F: not boozy, low ABV, rich, good body
O: I'm glad I got to try this

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
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

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle a deep opaque black with one finger of creamy beige head.

Aroma of ash, licorice, raisin, and light coffee notes.

Taste opened with notes of raisin and butterscotch. This was followed by coffee, licorice, roasted malts, and ash.

Thinner bodied and a bit dry with a lighter carbonation.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a very interesting take on the style. i think we as americans have come to expect big sludgy syrupy beers in this style that coat the palate like tar and boast alcohol contents will into double digits. this is not the case here, its decidedly english, and i admire that about it. the pour is really interesting. while the beer is almost black, the contrast of the head being almost pure white is profound, like a yin yang or something, really opposite ends of the spectrum, its beautiful, and not thick at all. it smells a little oxidized, and like bready old world english ale yeast. these beers are not known for yeast flavors, but there is a lot of it here and it makes this unique. its all about the malts, roasted barley cruises along effortlessly, and without all the weight, i taste elements of it i havent often tasted. light drip coffee, bakers cocoa, and char. the yeast really is pretty pungent in this, and i like that a lot. the alcohol being so low lets it be a more delicate experience. it has forced me to consider and reconsider the russian imperial stout as a style. this is just wholly different than what we have come to expect, and rather than call it thin and yeasty, i appreciate it taking a more classic path. chalky texture on it and very dry, i was impressed with this and need to try some more beer from these guys.

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Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.