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St Petersburg Imperial Stout - Thornbridge Brewery

Not Rated.
St Petersburg Imperial StoutSt Petersburg Imperial Stout

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

141 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 141
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 6
Gots: 8 | FT: 1
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: 141 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0


4/5  rDev +0.8%

03-03-2013 00:11:17 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
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 metter98

New York

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high light tan head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted and burnt malts as well as peat and smoke in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, except that the peaty flavors are a bit stronger, and particularly stand out in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation. There is some dryness, which particularly stands out in the finish. Some hints of bitterness are also present.
O: The beer is rather easy to drink for the style because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste, although the peaty and smoky flavors make this a bit more of a sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 03:07:10 | More by metter98
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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 BEERchitect


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

Velvety rich, smooth, and creamy, this sturdy stout favors chocolate and soft coffees over the bolsterous roast character that is so popular in Imperial Stouts.

Dark, perhaps black in color with a volumptuous pour, the beer carries an opaque and onyx appearance. A froathy head forms a dense a liquidy creme that caps the beer beautifuly with lacing that rivals the best. An ideal look for any Stout.

Moderate in intensity, the aromas of true malt, mild roast, and grain give an organic scent to the caramel and coffee counterparts. Light grassy hops give a near-herbal note that never interferes with the aroma. Though the aromas are fine, they don't give the same stern impression as does the appearance.

Deep roast coffee, bittersweet chocolates, malted milk candies, and walnuts are the obvious flavors while mild cream/vanilla, tobacco, and leather reveal themselves as the beer warms.

Avoiding the acrid roast that most big stouts strive for, this beer has a soft and velvety feel that makes it much more drinkable than it should be. Creamy early and creamy late, the beer makes a slight transition to textures of warmth and moderate bitterness in the long lasting finish and aftertaste.

Although the beer is effortless to drink, I doubt that it's as easy to make. A lot of work goes into making a Stout this smooth and flavorful. Reminds me of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout- just a bit more of it.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2010 03:21:32 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had the Jaipur IPA a few weeks back from this hard to find brewer and enjoyed it,this beer was just fantastic.Poured into a snifter a near jet black except for just a tinge of ruby when held up to the light,a half finger mocha colored head head atop.Big complexities in the nose,dark fruit,dark roast,smokey peat,and bitter chocolate,as it warmed even a passing leafy note came thru,I say perfection.Quite dry from the start with heavy roast and a light woodiness,a faint smokey peat note as well,after awhile the dark fruit,and vanilla begins to cut thru the roast.A great impy stout,maybe the most drinkable "QUALITY" imperial stout I have had.A joy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2010 01:13:30 | More by oberon
Photo of kylehay2004


3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
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 Knapp85


3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Serving type: cask

06-09-2011 23:31:07 | More by Knapp85
Photo of JAHMUR


4/5  rDev +0.8%

11-15-2011 20:23:13 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. The label now seems to be in line with the rest of their current offerings, Greek statue and all.

This beer pours slightly off-black, with reddish highlights, and two fingers of dense foamy beige head, which settles relatively slowly, leaving a thorough bonsai tree ring of lace around the glass. It smells of powdery chocolate milk mix, lightly roasted caramel malt, a bit of oily nuttiness, and a slight, thin alcohol edge. The taste is bitter chocolate malt, some mild dark fruit, subtle old coffee grinds, and somewhat zingy leafy hops. The carbonation is present, but on the down low, the body medium weight, with aspirations to fullness. It finishes off-dry, the chocolate sweetness well tempered by lingering hops and swelling metallic booze.

I like that this is an RIS from the original-ish source, but now shipped to that other northern expanse of a nation. I'm no tsarina, but I appreciate this big beer all the same. Not big in the New World Americana sense - I just wish it had a bit more weight, as the alcohol seems a little too successful in thinning this little beast out.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 02:48:15 | More by biboergosum
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at The Ginger Man in NYC 12 January 2008:
Typical appearance. Good head retention. Good lacing. Aroma offers a berry-like fruitiness, soft roastiness, and hints of dark chocolate and toffee followed by a coffee-like roastiness. The flavor follows suit, and the yeasty fruitiness permeates the dark maltiness. It's quite soft and lush, being a cask offering, but it's more than just mouthfeel here - this is a very well-balanced and rounded ale! It's not as aggressive as many examples of the style, and yet it certainly fits within the perception of the style. Perhaps that has something to do with its somewhat limited strength (given the style it is a touch lower than might be expected); or perhaps it has to do with the fact that they haven't over-done the dark malts to the point of sharp acidity; and perhaps it also has to do with the way that they've limited the bitterness and hop flavor to just a few streaks here and there in the background. Yet it retains all of the characteristics that an Imperial stout should have! Superbly done with a delicate touch given to an assertive style! Very enjoyable! Highly drinkable!

Serving type: cask

01-15-2008 04:06:23 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl


4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two fingers of medium brown head on an opaque, black body. The thick head fades away slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Lots of dark malt, chocolate, smoke, licorice, and caramel.

T - Dark malty notes of caramel and dark chocolate up front with some lightly smoky character. More dark sugar appears in the middle as notes of molasses, caramel, and licorice come out. The finish is full of smoky chocolate, licorice, dark caramel, and a bit of medium roast coffee.

M - A fairly thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nice, after running across a string of mediocre dark ales recently this is a pleasant change of pace. Plenty of dark complexity with a smoky chocolate note running throughout that makes the beer a pleasure to slowly savor. The licorice and caramel notes work nicely together as well. I had previously tried two other beers from Thornbridge, both of which were excellent, and based on those experiences I had high hopes for this. It lived up fully to my expectations and I will definitely go out of my way to try anything else from them that I can get my hands on in the future.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 06:03:23 | More by nickfl
Photo of russpowell


4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Bitterbill, thanks man!

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 2+ fingers of cocoa colored head. Superior lacing & similar head retention

S: Dark fruit & leafy hops, that's about it..

T: Follows the nose a touch of dryness & some dark chocolate up front. A bit of port characteristics once warm, along with dark cherries covered with milk chocolate, molasses, along with some herbal & leafy hops & a touch of boozeyness. Finishes dry, fruitty, with a touch of cocoa

MF: Smooth, slick, medium bodied & great balance

Great drinkability, complexity may suffer a tad from the low ABV for the style, but only by a slight margin, nice to see a great RIS from the country of origin (Brewed FOR the Russian Imperial Court originally)

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2009 04:54:26 | More by russpowell
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +25.9%

12-01-2011 00:31:28 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of beernads


2.75/5  rDev -30.7%

11-18-2013 14:49:15 | More by beernads
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at New Beer Distributors in New York. I feel I should drink US brews exclusively when I'm in the US, but Thornbridge is difficult to get in Australia, and too good to pass up.

Pours a deep brown colour, surprisingly fluid, with a filmy and pocked head of dusty milk chocolate. Lacing is fine and patchy. Looks a little light for a stout, especially any sort of Imperial one, but still decent.

Nose is roasty, but rather light and astringent. Dark, sharp cocoa-chocolate characters come through, but so does an organic banana skin note late. Mostly sweetness, although the dark chocolate characters give it a slight edge. Only average for a RIS though.

Taste is better, largely because of the big bitter roastiness, which I feel is a must in a RIS. Smoky, dark, crisped characters sit nicely through the centre of the palate, and although it doesn't have a lot of sweetness, it has just enough body to carry the roasted astringency. Feel is a touch too thin, I feel, but at 7.7%, this isn't a big RIS by any standards.

A decent enough brew, but rather disappointing for the style, and for the brewery. A RIS should be a keystone of any brewery's lineup, and I feel this one missed a step.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 18:39:03 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised to find this bottle-conditioned version at a fantastic beer shop in Sheffield, The Dram. The 500ml brown bottle comes with a chic and simple beer label. BB date unknown, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: a tight and creamy tan head sits on top of a deeply dark brownish hue, with very good retention.
S: roasted malts, charred wood, soy sauce, licorice, and aromatic cocoa abound, enriched with a touch of flowery hops which comes slightly sweet to match the powdery chocolatey and nutty note very well. Firmly behind the maltiness lingers a touch of dried red dates as well, but not as assertive as in a premium bitter or porter. Rich and dense, as well as refreshing, with but a touch of alcohol.
T: a refreshing flow of semi-syrupy and bitter-sweet chocolates prevails upfront, before a roast nuttiness takes over; yeastiness, dryish bitter and earthy hops to follow, bringing lots of dried leafiness and herbal bitterness on board. Vertical bitterness and a very subtle aroma and flavour of walnuts quietly linger. All elements are integrated perfectly.
M&D: the mouthfeel is superb, with the flow of refreshing but soft fizziness as live witness to successful bottle-conditioning. The body is almost full but every element on the palate is mixed harmoniously, rendering a balanced profile and great quaffability. I wish I had the luck to try this beer on cask some day.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 18:35:40 | More by wl0307
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
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 jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
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 DoubleJ


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No intro for tonight, just on to the beer:

The 500 ml bottle fits perfectly in the imperial pint glass. It looks nearly picture perfect at first; moderately tanned head that an inch thick, and an ink black body. The retention is solid and it leaves some bubbly lace around the glass. There some smokiness from the aroma, and even some licorice, roast, and dark chocolate.

Tastes like a good imperial stout, but with a extra kick of smokiness, which I find to be pleasant. Licorice, anise, and semi-sweet chocolate work their way into the profile of this quality stout. The 7.7% alcohol is hidden, yet it holds the body of a beer that is larger. It's nearly full bodied, has some richness, with a gentle snap of bubbles.

Quite the pleasant imperial stout. Not lacking in flavor, yet goes down quite easy.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 06:35:00 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask, gravity poured, at the Brick Store Pub. Poured black with a slight head and some spotty lacing. Smells roasty and fruity and with some oak and ash notes as well as some vinous coffee notes. The taste is yeasty and fruity, mostly apples, with a soft roastiness and more barrel oak as well as a touch of ashiness. A touch of toffee throughout and a bit more yeasty apple notes on the finish. This is a soft and gentle, but flavorful example of the style. The mouthfeel is a bit tannic from the wood, and a bit yeasty, but smooth and not muddy tasting at all. Very nice.

Serving type: cask

06-14-2009 17:50:11 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of John_M


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Max's in Baltimore the other night.

The beer pours a rich dark black color with a tan creamy head. There is very good head retention and decent lacing. This beer looks pretty impressive. On the nose I don't get a whole lot, maybe some licorise and mild malt. On the palate this beer comes across more as an Oatmeal stout then an Imperial stout. It has a very soft creamy mouthfeel, with flavors of vanilla, chocolate and chicory/coffee. The flavors all meld together and nothing comes across as very distinct. There is sort of dry, slightly bitter finish, with the abv. pretty well disguised. The abv. is fairly high for an English stout, which I assume is one of the reasons it's considered an RIS.

A very nice beer, but not so distinct, impressive or unusual that I would seek it out.

Serving type: cask

12-15-2007 00:57:18 | More by John_M
Photo of superspak


3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
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 plaid75

New York

3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Serving type: cask

01-28-2011 19:14:59 | More by plaid75
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2011 22:36:14 | More by beerthulhu
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St Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.