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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

92 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 92
Hads: 172
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 6
Gots: 14 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 92 | Hads: 172
Photo of kylehay2004
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (350 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (415 characters)

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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 (501 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (1,021 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
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. (455 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (336 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (1,570 characters)

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

500 ml bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Jet black pour - opaque. Maybe 2 fingers of tan head.

S: Burnt coffee and a bit of booze were expected, but there was a strange celery note that was unappetizing. A bit of smoke and licorice.

T: Nicely balanced but not particularly interesting - just traditional stout malt flavours on the sweeter side offset by herbal hop bitterness.

M: Smooth, on the thin side, but very pleasant. Finishes with a nice bite.

O: This seems to be a classic English interpretation of the RIS; not as exciting as the American ones these days, but still a solid beer in its own right. Worth trying. (639 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of June 2013. Picked up from my local beer specialist. Bottle conditioned.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. An exceptionally dark brown that appears pitch black. Produces a large head of creamy tan foam that lasts for a while before reducing to a surface layer. A rich aroma of roasted malt with notes of coffee, liquorice, burnt grain, molasses, dried fruit, cocoa, yeast and stewed hops. A warming hint of booze in the background.

Tastes of roasted malt with a sweet yet spicy flavour. Notes of burnt grain, liquorice, coffee, molasses, cocoa, dried fruit and yeast. Hints of aromatic citrus in the background, and stewed hop bitterness. A warming, astringent note of alcohol upon swallowing. Dry, spicy and mildly vinous. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety smooth, with tingly carbonation. Highly astringent - dries the palate. Aftertaste of bitter roasted malt and coffee.

Very nice, and surprisingly drinkable. A complex, balanced flavour with a malty character. Notes of yeast and hops are also discernible, but take a back seat. A solid imperial stout that comes across as traditional for the style. Well worth trying if you come across it. (1,165 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Dark brown, almost black pour with two finger tan head with good retention and lacing. Somewhat subdued nose dominated by the chocolate malts with hints of toffee, espresso, caramel, and just a touch of licorice and smoke. It opens up a bit as it warms with the hops finally emerging. Chocolate and mocha dominate the taste, with a great balance of sweetness from the malts, and a subtle, but welcomed bitter herbal hop bite. Hints of coffee, caramel and earthy peat round it out. The mouthfeel is smooth as silk with no heaviness whatsoever. If you're looking for the typical big, bold, sipper RIS, go elsewhere as this is totally drinkable. Another great beer from Thornbridge! (747 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 7/2/12

A shes pretty dark with just a little cola at the edges, a short lived mocha head leaves lots of polka dot lacing

S coco powder and charred wood, faint booze and the smokey peat mentioned on the bottle is there and gives a mellow aspect to the nose

T much like the nose with just a little licorice and some dark fruit, lots of smokey notes but nothing like drinking a cigar

M its a little thin but decent bubbles give it a little body, char on the finish

O solid stout but lacking the intense flavors and dark complexity of the truly world class, its a good beer and well worth trying

drinks like a session stout with a light body but the 7.7% would catch up pretty fast. I'm not sure of the RIS status but I doubt I would've classified it any different myself. (809 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured an opaque dark mahogany with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like rich dark chocolate and some smoky peat and roasted coffee, with some smoke and wet oak.
T: It tasted like dark chocolate and lots of smoke and peat, with some coffee and licorice. It had a smoky and bitter aftertaste, with some heat.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a very nice smoky stout with unique scotch-like character. I didn't realize the brewer's intent with the first few sips, but once I read the bottle and understood what they're going for, I really began to appreciate this beer. By the end of the glass, I was craving more. Great scent and taste and body. Finish was a bit hot, so combined with the smoke, it was really a sipping beer. May mellow with age, but probably better fresh to get more of the unique character. Definitely recommended, if you can find it. (906 characters)

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: opaque with thick rocky tan head that dissipated
S: milder nose with deep roasted malt, some cocoa evident, incredible depth
T: well-balanced, RIS with good roasted malt and nice finish of bitter hops, some hints of barrel aging but not barrel aged
M: rounded, well-balanced
O: this is drinkable right now but could use maybe 1-2 years or aging but probably not much more (374 characters)

Photo of Brabander
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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. (474 characters)

Photo of Mar02x
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (1,528 characters)

Photo of mrkc
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (394 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
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. (888 characters)

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. (808 characters)

Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.46/5  rDev +12.3%
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! (465 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (543 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (1,104 characters)

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. (620 characters)

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. (553 characters)

Photo of Doshkin
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (746 characters)

Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.