1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Imperial Stout - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,218 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,218
Reviews: 811
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 86
Gots: 74 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
12 Ingredients:
Malts: Great Western, Harrington & Klages, Hugh Baird XLT-80, Black, Munich, Chocolate and rolled oats.
Hops: Willamette, Cascade and Chinook. Specialty: Two Secret ingredients.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

88 IBU
73 AA
256º Lovibond

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,218 | Reviews: 811 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of baiser
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque black, with a tan brown head. Swirling aroma of coffee, prunes, chocolate and caramel. Some dark fruits also present. I love a strong stout, and this certainly hit the spot. Espresso, chocolate, hops and an insane amount of roastiness. Definitely an after dinner drink for me, with some sweet cheesecake. Amazing.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottling tested out in May 2005 from a 12 oz. bottle.

Pours out an inky black with an almost-nonexistent brown head. It seems that other reviewers had a big one, but even with an aggressive pour into a snifter, I couldn't coax much out.

The smell is pretty thick with chocolate and roasted malt. There's a bit of a coffee scent, but it's not overpowering. The hoppiness is noteworthy and rounds things out pretty nicely even after a couple of years.

Taste is strong of burnt malts and chocolate. The hops were nice and assertively bitter and coupled pretty well with the high alcohol. There's some coffee, but again, I don't feel that it's that present. The flavor is relatively bitter and might even approach the realm of being slightly salty, but it's still pretty tasty with a very thick, slick mouthfeel. Dark chocolate comes through very clearly in the aftertaste.

Overall: This is a pretty good one, but maybe not in the same league as some of the other top American stouts. I was glad I could find this in the aged 12 oz. bottle, but I don't think I'd shell out the exorbitant swing-top price when I could pick up lots of Storm King or Founder's Breakfast Stout, both of which are better beers to me, for the same money.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12oz bottle. Bottled 2002.

Pours like motor oil with a thin creamy brown head. No lacing. Smells of mocha and chocolate shake. Creamy, milky yet bitter coffee aromas as well.

Taste is a creamy biting bitter chocolate ..Rich bitter chocolate and more and more coffee flavor as it warms. Roasted nuttiness. Big and rich and malty. Big beer with a long dry bitter aftertaste to offset the sweetness nicely. Pretty damned tasty. A classic at 3 years. Get some of this. By any means necessary.

Photo of foamer
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottling. Bottle says best served after cellaring for one year.

Pours black. Blacker than black really. I think there is dark matter in my glass rather than beer. Topped off by a rather substantial bubbly head for an 11% abv beer which diminishes to bubbles on the surface. The head is the colour of chocolate milk. I've never seen a head quite so dark before. This is a formidable looking brew. I like it. Putting the nose up the glass, an aroma of dark fruits, unsweetened chocolate, and some roasted malt comes through along with some alcohol. Quite nice. At first sip the chocolate dominates, followed by plums and raisins, then some roasted malts, then by some alcohol warmth, but the unsweetened chocolate notes continue right through. The flavours are bold and in your face. No holding back, or pussy-footing around here. This is a big, bold, and complex beer. Mouthfeel is nice a thick and almost like syrup. Quite lovely. This is an exceedingly drinkable imperial stout. It is dangerously drinkable, I find. The bottle says 11% but I couldn't tell that in a blind taste test. It drinks well below its weight. I'm going to cellar this one, and give some of the harsh edges some time to smooth out. Not that I mind the harshness, in fact I quite enjoy it. I'm curious to see what it does after cellaring for I would imagine that it become absolutely sublime. Thank you Sainsbury's for importing this one into Britain.

Photo of alexgash
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 bottle.

Wow! Pours a solid coffee black that light cannot penetrate. Topped by a thick, dense cushion of cocoa brown head that completely covers the sides with lace. Outstanding!

Nose is rich, roasty malt, with overtones of chocolate, peat, burned fruit, brown sugar, liquer-like alcohol, and of course big hops.

Sweet roasted barley up front. Kind of sweet, with some dark fruit and chocolate notes. Sweetness doesn't last long as a tidal wave of hop and roasted bitterness combine and take over. There must be a shitload of hops in here. Very bitter, yet tongue-numbingly tasty. Two years ago I would not have been able to finish this beer, but now I think I could handle a 750! Bitterness carries into the finish, where it is joined by warming alcohol, peat, faint smoke, and a bit of oak. Very nice. Full-bodied, with a thick (but not cloying), mouth coating feel. A big, in your face stout that's not for the faint of heart, but I love it!

Photo of acrawf6
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003. opened 04/05

Poured out a ink black and looked syrupy. good brown head. this is a very dark stout, i can just see the smallest hint of ruby in this beer when put up to the light.

smell was hard for me because, admittingly, i have a stuffy nose and cant smell too well (i know, i know, it messes up the taste too, but i just had to try it tonight). What i smell isnt all that amazing so i didnt grade it so well, but i did give it the benefit of the doubt and graded it higher than i would have if this smelled that same as if i did not have a stuffy nose.

the taste came through very well despite my stuffy nose. Has a creamy taste and feel to it. Also has a lot of bitter chocolate taste to it. Some roasted malts come through and has a whole lot of coffee flavor to it, especially in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is nice. It is creamy and full. like other stouts, no carbonation is visible except for the very top, but there is quite a bit of carbonation in it.

overall a great one to try and enjoy numerous times. i got the XS bottle and could go for another.

Photo of BeerFink
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle that states "Bottled in 2004"....

Decants pure opaque black, with just the very slightest hint of red near the bottom of the glass. Tall brown head composed of tightly knit bubbles crops up high and proud. Good head retention compliments sticky rings of lacing. Strong coffee aroma with some roasted barley mixed with some dark fruit and a bit of alcohol. Some citric hops are also present in the nose, interesting for this style. Taste is bitter coffee and some chocolate with some black malt, yet balanced by sweet malt. Alcohol is present and a little warming, but stays in the background. Citrous hops are more apparent that I would have imagined, definitely an interesting take on the style. I have often wondered what hopped up stouts would be like, and Rogue has answered that question for me. Cheers for that! Mouthfeel is chewy and viscous, not quite oily, but definitely nice and heavy. Finish is roasted grain and hoppy dry, with some alcohol. I need to grab a few more for the cellar.

Photo of santoslhalper
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearence: Pours a rich syrupy black with a thin chocolate cream head.

Smell: Incredibly malt focused with a huge alcohol spicy tinge. The coffee notes are incredible, but there is also a kind of fake caramel smell in there.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Wow. Now that's a kick in the pants. Rich, thick and syrupy, this beer is not for the weak of heart. The coffee and chocolate notes are deep and complex, but the alcohol is a bit too strong. A year or two and this one will be incredible. The mouthfeel is rich, thick, and syrupy.

Drinkability and Overall: Not a bad beer, but not yet at it's peak. The alcohol is a bit strong, but should be calmer soon. Definitly a solid brew.

Photo of Truh
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was accused of being a glutton with this one on 5/16/2004. 12-oz. bottle, not one of those rip-off ceramic bombers, poured in a shaker glass.

Thin head, sticking to sides with mocha accents. Deep, dark black hue and unable to see through it. Chocolaty, roasted, wood burning scents on the nose, as well as black strap molasses. Chocolate malt and some roastiness are prevalent, though not overdone – oddly, there does not seem to be anything else that catches the attention of the palate. The feel is one of initial jumpiness, probably due in part to the alcohol, that gently smooths out as the tongue becomes accustomed to the roasted characters. Becomes somewhat clingy as the pour warms with a strong bit through the middle of the tongue. A bit more forgiving that Stone’s, and in a way more full than the Nailbiter/Thumbsucker.

Photo of amicar
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark. dark as night. blindfolded. And buried 20 feet underground. On a moonless night. Yes, that dark. Nice deep brown, wood- colored head.
Smells a little sharp and beefy. Many roast flavors with a sub- acrid sense below the surface.
Taste is overwhelmed by the sharp roasted and dark malts. The syrupy, thick, beefy, slight soy- sauce walking hand- in hand with hop bitterness. Coffee is here, as well as very dark chocolate; burned wood, burnt marshmallow. The sweetness is nicely restrained.
Feels like I'm actually chewing on it rather than drinking it. Slick and heavy. Not excessively syrupy. Also, smooth enough to drink, despite the fact you suspect (but can't prove immediately) that this has some ABV heft behind it.

Overall, really complex and rewarding. But this beer takes some real commitment on the drinker's part. Don't bother if you're not prepared to really challenge the palate. I'd work up to this one.

Photo of canucklehead
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was aged for a year. The beer is nightblack and redolent of coffee and hops. very big and very smooth I slowed down to drink every essence of this sublime beer. Notes of old dried figs and coffee shop back rooms. Rogue really knows how to make stouts and this is one of their best.

Photo of HogHill
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Twelve oz. bottle. Half inch Brown foam head formed seconds after pouring this dark beauty into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.

Smells like unsweetened dark chocolate, one of them fancy exported kinds ya know, not some Nestle Crunch that's been sitting in a vending machine for 3 years..

Taste/Mouthfeel - A whole lotta chocolate and espresso flavor here. Chewy, and Creamy, a perfect mild carbonation level for this style.. A lil warmth on the finish just to let you know, as Chris Rock would say "slow down!" There's a lot of beer here to be savored, respek!

Anything above 8% is hard for me to order again in succession, but over the long term I'll be coming back to this Impy Stout again and again. Another awesome offering from Rogue.

Photo of merlin48
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2001 vintage. Pours a dark and thick opaque black body with an elegant and creamy light brown head. Good retention and lots of lacing on the glass. Lots of good stout aromas, with bitter burnt coffee and unsweetened chocolate. Very roasty and smoky dark malts run rampant in the nose. Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied, with low medium carbonation. Taste is dominated by the toasty, roasted dark malts. Burnt coffee bitterness, some chocolate cake, and a note of black cherries. Just a hint of the big alcohol. Bitter roasted malt finish with a hint of raisins in the aftertaste. Hops presence seems muted with age, and no hops notes were picked up. This one seems unlikely to benefit much from further aging. Very nice American double stout, but I wish I had sampled it when younger for sake of comparison.

Photo of carln26
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep, deep black, with a thick full tan colored head that looks like it’s here to stay for a long while. The head, when it finally does settle sticks to the side of the glass in a clingy lace. The nose has a rich chocolate character, definite notes of coffee, just a slight citrus hint from the hops. The taste for me was dominated by espresso notes. There is some of the chocolate malt in the back, but I was surprised there wasn’t more chocolate up front. Mild hop zing, this is just a little boozy for my taste. That hurts both the mouth feel and the drinakbility. Good beer, just not a great one.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 12oz. bottle
Damn...this thing pours an evil, cloudy, dark as night black w/ a full finger of thick mocha head. Tight lacing that is motionless on the side of the glass...this is one serious brew!
Smell is a sweet raisins and coffee w/ just a hint of alcohol...real pleasant. Some chocolate scent as well, but not what is dominating at this point.
Did I say thick??? Holy crap, this baby is like a milk shake...packed with chocolate, coffee, malt and hops. For its consistency, this baby is still refreshing. It is very smooth and balanced...not bitter at all and leaves a tasty aftertaste. I wouldn't say drinkability is rated high, but it is no struggle to finish off this pint w/ a huge smile on my face. I do not taste the alcohol one bit at just above room temperature...but I can feel its effects after just 8 ounces...I like that!
Great beer...next.

Photo of Shultzerdugen
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2003 12 oz. bottle.

I might have over chilled this sample. It poured black of course, with almost no head. I let it get to a decent temp before I started chewing on it.

The smell gets better and better as you work through this massive beer. Alcohol was noticable, as was a chocolate covered candied cherries vibe. Molasses and a certain smokey spiciness.

Espresso and dark roast coffee came to mind when it first attacked my pallette. Dark chocolate. Alcohol is strong and warming. Big time bitterness from hops to match big time malts.
Sweetness like candied fruit from a gulping drink, but that's sort of hard to do. I think I went to bed with the taste of this beer still in my mouth, hours later.

This is a tough beer. I might call it extreme, for sure brash. I would recommend Samuel Smith's IS or Old Rasputin over this, as they seem more enjoyable. Jeez, Rogue, take it easy! I love beer, don't attack me.

Photo of JackStraw22
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003. Nice thick black body with dark caramel head. Head retention could be better, not a lot of lacing. (Though it could be the glass) Nice caramel malt aroma, very sweet and chocolatey. Wonderful mouthfeel! Refreshing and crisp yet at the same time it's bold and full of body and flavor. Taste: awesome. Coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, great balance with the hops. Great brew!

Photo of DrainBamage
2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark black color with virtual no head what so ever except for around the side of the glass. This is quite possible the darkest beer I've ever seen. After being dissapointed with the appearance I took a good smell of it and was quite surprised by the pleasant roasted malt aroma and was saying to myself I'm in for a treat. I was sorely wrong. For a stout the moutfeel was pretty good. But left a overly bitter aftertaste that would just not go away. The taste itself is quite bland and nothing to get excited about. Overall I did not care for this beer much. The smell is misleading making one think that it'll be a good beer to drink. I can look past the lack of head if the taste and mouthfeel make up for it, but there just isn't really anything about this beer that'll make you come back for another.

Photo of redmosquito
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque black with a dense black head that left a bunch of lace around the top of my glass. The aroma is wonderful, some hops and huge malt complexity with a sweet toffee scent, and burnt roasted grains. The flavor is a bit of a disappointment, it has the bitterness and the roasted flavors but it isn’t as malt heavy as it smells. I would have liked a lingering malt flavor. The body is okay, if not quite velvety. A good beer.

Photo of mntlover
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a balck on black no highlights on this baby even held to light its just black with a nice dark chocolate head only one finger but looks nice falls to a ring of foam.
Aroma is dark roasted malt, expresso, chocolate and tastey citrus hops pushing thru the dark roasted malt very inviting but normal for a good Imperial Stout.
Taste is good roasted malt expresso flavors almost burnt. Hints of sweet chocolate try to poke thru the lightly bitter burnt malt but are overpowered by grapefruit rind flavor of the nice west coast hops it leaves some lasting bitterness on the tounge that begs for another drink. This stout is a pretty nice balance of roasted malt and large dose of hops both are present and neither really win, they just draw to a tie and everyone wins including us.
Mouthfeel is big almost surypy a nice full bodied beer.
Drinkability is good another great beer from a great brewery just wondering does Rouge make any bad beers?

Photo of Wonka
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle
55-60 degrees
Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley, MD

How about a vat of black oil? Light permeability? What light? The darkness is strong to the edge. The bubbly brown head is sturdy. Allow me to summon Mike Myers' rendition of father Stuart Mackenzie from ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’ -- Head! Move! Now! – It didn’t move.

Sweetness. Molasses predominates with a background of light dark chocolate and black currants. There’s also some light alcohol included.

Brutish malts rush in early and the closer is hoppy. Great Western Harrington, Klages, Hugh Baird Crystal, Black, Munich and Chocolate malts are the early bullies. Willamette, Cascade and Chinook push almost everyone off the tongue. Coffee comes through with the ever-present roasted and chocolate malt. Alcohol arrives midstream but does not overpower. The aftertaste is long and bitter with some dark chocolate tones.

The syrupy nature blankets the tongue. The full-bodied, creamy smoothness lends itself to savoring each sip. The journey is meant to be slow.

This is why I ventured to the Russian Imperial Stout. This is the ultimate. Recent quadrupels reviewed, excuse me. The bully has arrived.

Photo of Sycodrummer
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this from the bottle at the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston, Mass. last night. Pour the 12oz. bottle into one of there standard pint glasses. To my suprise almost no head. Just an every so slight dark tan/beige layer formed and quickly went away. Very little lacing too as a result. The beer was darker than dark in color. A deep black with no light getting through.

Smell as amazing. Very strong alcohol upfront with the other flavors such as coffee, chocolate, and carmel malts taking a back seat.

Unlike the smell, the taste of alcohol was not apparent upfront. Infact, it was so well blended I could barley taste that this was a 10+% ABV brew. I am a very big fan of the Imperial Stout style of beer, and having sampled other of the style, I expected the alcohol taste to be apparent, such was not the case here. Rather, the strong black coffee and chocolate malts came through and delivered a bitter chicory like taste that is certainly not to everyone's taste, but I very much enjoyed it. As noted, rather bitter, but not so much as to take away from any of the other flavors or complexities of this beer.

Heavy on the palate, a light motor oil consitancy but this just seemed to perfectly compliment everything else that was going will with this beer.

Very easy to drink, and very enjoyable. The only reason I don't give it a "5" for drinkability is because at the 10.5% ABV this beer can sneak up on you and force you to remember and respect it potency. Not a beer to sit down and have 4 or 5 of them. Rather, a beer to thoroughly enjoy every last sip of a bottle or two at a time.

Photo of goindownsouth
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An amazingly soothing find this one was at one of my favorite local haunts, JP O'Malley's in Allentown.

This stout oozed out of the bottle and left a generous head atop the menacing glass of dark, rich-looking brew. This was one of the more dark brews I have seen in quite some time and, to my delight, a tannish, pillowy head stayed true for quite some time. The aroma was deep and rich, complete with roasted malts, perhaps some bittersweet chocolate-type sweetness as well as hints of espresso or another strong coffee... The flavor followed suit, to a "T". Smooth and velvety on the palate, the roasted malt goodness was a pleasure to ingest. A fantastic brew, to be sure, although at 10.5% ABV, it packs one helluva a whallop...


Photo of Gagnonsux
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottling date. The color is black with nice dark brown head. Nice layer of retention. Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate, alcohol, a buttery aroma, and just a bit of hops. Taste is malty with a fairly strong alcohol taste. Malts are of the roasted chocolate flavored kind. This is only my second imperial stout, and this one reminded of barley wine unlike my previous sample. Maybe it had a stronger alcohol kick than the previous sample, however I think it might be more chocolatey.
Overall: I found this to be very enjoyable, but still probably not as good as expected. Perhaps I just don't know the style well enough or maybe the beer has aged too long.

Photo of hero27
4.78/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. 2001 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark...oh hell, let's just be honest here. It's black...Jet black...with a 1/2-1", foamy, tannish-brown head. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass which was no surprise considering the other characteristics of this brew.

Smell: One of the few beers I could smell the moment I cracked the bottle open. Definitely a smoky, malty aroma coming from this intimidating brew. Coffee-ish aroma as well, but it's much more complex than that... Read the other reviews, they say it much more eloquently than I could and most parallel my thoughts.

Taste: The alcohol shows it's muscle right away.. Complex chocolately malts and surprisingly, even a nice, bitter hop presence to balance the malts. mmm, oh so good. That alcohol "bite" is priceless. I love it. It's a good thing I only picked up a couple bottles of this, because I may become addicted if it were more available..

Mouthfeel: Believe it or not, full-bodied. ;) I honestly can't believe how smooth this is for a beer above 10%. It's so creamy and smooth...very deceiving. If it weren't for the apparent alcohol notes, this would be simply a dangerous beverage.

Drinkability: Honestly, for a stout (especially a double stout as this one is), it's highly drinkable. Seriously, it didn't take me long to down a glass of it. If you like stouts, do whatever you can to get ahold of this bad boy.. If you're a BA and want a good beer no matter what the style, pick this up right away. Pure nectar. Thanks Rogue!

Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
91 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.