Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout - Thornbridge Brewery

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Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout
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very good

154 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 154
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 5
Gots: 9 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-22-2006)
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Ratings: 154 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrkc
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stately, clean bottle, with a handsome lable. The Dark brown, opaque. Light tan ring, light carbonation. Smells of bitter chocolates and lightly of hops. Tastes strongly of the aforementioned bitter chocolate, as well as roasted oats, and something vaguely nutty. Crisp finish, without too much taste from the alcohol - the coffee shines through here. Well done all around, best as a digestive.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 500 ml brown bottle. Pours out a deep opaque black, with a thin mahogany nimbus around the edges, with a tall creamy beige head that settles to a thick cap.

Aroma is intense with roasted and burnt malts, spicy and leafy hops, dry espresso, dry smokey grains, even some mesquite.

Dry roasted malt combines with a bright burst of grapefruit hops up front in the flavour, while dry burnt smokey malt rises up in the middle, with dry spicy and leafy hops finishing things combined with dry espresso. Strange combination of grapefruit and coffee linger on in the aftertaste.

Medium-full mouthfeel, texture is slick at times, creamy velvet smooth at other times. Low carbonation.

A RIS that is a bit challenging at times, though not off-putting. Some interesting contrasts and flavour combos at work here, it certainly carves its own path. I think it'd fair better paired with food.

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.

Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark, dark black colour, with a frothy off-white head. Lovely!

Smells faintly dark and roasty. This cold definitely isn't helping things... I like what I can smell though is the main point.

Tastes at first dark, roasty and malty, until the hops kick in with a fairly hefty bitterness. Slight taste of alcohol but not too strong which I like.

Overall a great example of the style, one from England as well!

Photo of lanbewardin
5/5  rDev +25.9%

Photo of bluejacket74
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with almost a half inch tan head that faded away quickly. There's also a decent amount of lacing. The brew is roasty and malty, it smells like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and some caramel. I think the taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's also a bit of licorice and some peat/smoke flavors noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and coating with moderate carbonation. Overall I think it's a good beer, definitely worth trying.

Photo of biboergosum
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.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +25.9%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of mrfrancis
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours dark mahogany, almost black, with a rocky chocolate milk colored head. Reduces over a minute or so, leaving a thin film of lacing.

S-Lightly roasty, with aromas of cacao nibs and milk chocolate dust.

T/M-Reminiscent of the Samuel Smith Imperial Stout, but with a touch more hoppiness to dry out the thin sweet chocolate malt profile. Flavors of caramel and light roasted coffee beans. The finish is marked by a light, grassy bitterness.

O-Exquisitely well balanced and delicious. An excellent example of a traditional English Imperial Stout.

Photo of Doshkin
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - dark and black with some reddish notes. a little bit of head that leaves moderate lacing

s - roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and a minor sweetness

t - definitely goes from a tiny bit sweet, to full on bitter. the coffee and mild chocolate flavors explode wonderfully on the swallow, leaving a tasty bitter aftertaste. the finish is mostly coffee with a little bit of smokiness.

m - very full bodied with the perfect stout carbonation. this is a smooth drinker. i think the mouthfeel is the best part of the brew.

o - extremely well balanced. nothing about this beer is overpowering, even though it is very thick. i wouldnt say that it is unique, but more of a staple for a quality stout. highly recommend for the stout lovers out there.

Photo of StJamesGate
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours oily black that's actually bright magenta when back lit, with creamy, crated tawny foam that clings and trails networks of lace and keeps a solid film that leaves opaque sheets even after the head has faded. Nose is lighter than expected - tobacco smoke (which is actually peat,) soil, some roasted acidity and a bit of black grape juice.
Espresso grounds, sultanas, bark, and burnt sugar with nettle tea and lemon peel hops.
Sarsparilla comeback and minty dry linger with definite bitterness. Medium to full, soft, round, smooth, only a trace of a burn.

Bringing this to room temperature turns the volume up on everything.

Deadly smooth and velvety. Doesn't bludgeon you with big flavors the way some American RISs do, so very much English that way. Sorachi Ace is an interesting choice, and lends a citrusy twist. Dark malt sourness is a bit sharp and I'm not sure the peat belongs. Still, one to be reckoned with.

Photo of BBP
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black, but slightly thin appearance when compared to most stouts. More of a ruby appearance during the pour. The somewhat underwhelming appearance was only means for this beer to work it's way up.

S- Slightly brighter in the nose than in the taste. Notes of licorice, raisin, and cocoa are most prominent.

T- Bittersweet malts open up the beer before it moves into a coffee and roasted malt finish. It begins a bit more sweet, but the bitterness and the coffee builds up. The aftertaste is quite pleasant. Caramel sweetens it, but is subtle enough to go unnoticed.

M- Medium full body. Fairly dry finish. Slightly sticky.

O- This drink is all about balance. It really doesn't let one flavor get too far or ahead of others. It shines in the drinkability department as heat is nowhere to be found. I think this one would definitely be worth picking up again, but the lack of focus or intensity doesn't blow me away. The craftsmanship does though.

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.

Photo of BDTyre
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've only ever had Thornbridge once before, and I hardly remember it. I was happy to pick this up, and its quite nice. Black with a light, light brown head that is thick, porous and creamy. Creamy, roasted scent. Smoky peat, light wine, coffee and dark chocolate.

Very creamy, smooth flavour. Malty, chocolate-y and coffee and cream. Light fruitiness, very little alcohol - something I find typical in English RIS. Nice mix of flavours. The black coffee and alcohol characters really kick off in the finish and tingle the nose.

Smooth, almost soapy mouthfeel - light but slick. Carbonation is present, but light. A very nice RIS with a low alcohol character, and even at 7.7%, I could probably have another!

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.

Photo of metter98
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.

Photo of aepb1
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Black body with a small creamy tan head

S- Roasted malts, coffee and some sweetness in there too

T- Roasted malts and coffee again. Some bitterness throughout and lingers to the end.

M- Full-bodied and some creaminess, nothing outstanding here

O- An ok beer, above average but not stellar

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.

Photo of Brad007
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch-black cololr with a thin brown head into my glass. Definitely looks like a stout.

Just a light hint of roasted malt with cocoa and cream. Not too far away.

Roasted coffee blankets the mouth followed by cream and a light hint of cocoa.

Body is definitely a bit light, mainly at the back of the throat. However, there isn't anything else that would indicate spoilage, etc.

It's not bad but the body should be thicker and roastier, which it isn't. Still, you should check it out if you enjoy the style. Just don't expect anything mind-blowing.

Photo of beerthulhu
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.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into Tulip Imperial Pint.

Pours black, showing a bit of deep brown at the edges, with an impressive, dense, meringue-like tan cap on top. Very nice retention and great lacing. Settles into a thinner cap eventually, but it takes awhile.

Nose is reserved, restrained even. Light floral hop and light roast presence, bit of dark caramelized sugar, wee bit of dark fruit. Could be bigger, I suppose.

Taste is, in a word, superb. Toffee and bakers chocolate and a bit of caramel, melding with a light, earthy, nutty roast. Sugar-coated dark fruit and espresso beans wrapped in chocolate balance beautifully, and a snappy herbal hop bite towards the end adds a nice bit of balancing closure. Faint bit of alcohol in there sticks its head out there and again. The finish on this one is the star, though - just fantastic, with a beautiful chocolaty, nutty, slightly earthy exhale that carries just a bit of a floral hop character. Hint of licorice also.

Mouthfeel is excellent - creamy and full-bodied, but not at all heavy or sticky. Alcohol is felt, but not through any degree of heat really.

Beautifully drinkable - alcohol only comes through enough to add character, never gets hot, flavor is beautiful, subtle but full, balanced, unique. Beautiful surprise, was more impressed with this version than with it on cask even.

Photo of bobhits
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

Photo of biglite351
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.