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Imperial Stout - Rogue Ales

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout

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1,227 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,227
Reviews: 812
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 91
Gots: 76 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,227 | Reviews: 812 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CRJMellor
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours midnight black with a two-fingered brown head and tones of lace on the glass.
Aroma of scotch, black currants, chocolate, coffee, burnt sugar, grain, oats and a floral, oily hop aroma.
Flavors of butterscotch, chocolate, brown sugar, hyper-bitter coffee and loads of earthy notes.
Mouthfeel is an intersting triumphvirate of sweet, heavy bitter and highly alcoholic potion. Starts off with a semi-sweet syrupy coating that jumps to hyper-bitter hoppinesss and finishes with a drying alcoholic kick. Transitions are a little clumsy but vey powerful feel.
Drinkability is high in general but due to heavy alcohol on the palate one is enough for me.

Photo of silenius
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this in celebration of selling my car. I am now officially a city-dweller reliant on public transportation, taxis, friends, and my motorcycle.

The bottle says best when aged for 1 year and is dated as bottled in 2003. Well, it is only very early 2004, but what the hell I like stouts.

The bottle, as you can see from the picture, has some mean Communist looking dude on it whose right hand has a weird line through it. Ingredients are listed on the bottle including "two secret ingredients."

Appearance is a deep dark chocolate color with a paper thin brown head. It leaves only a small bit of lace on the glass.

The nose smells more like a rich dessert wine than beer. A complex mix of black currants, ligonberries, and toffee on the nose. Intriguing.

The first sip goes like this: creamy, then a bit of an acidic edge to the beer that bursts into chocolate covered dark fruits, then unsweeeted chocolate, and finally espresso. Definitely one of the top 3 most complex beers I have ever had.

Halfway through the beer I have a lingering mint chocolate feel in my mouth. I feel like I am drinking some wacky chocolate ice-cream with an alcohlic kick.

One of these is enough for me in a session. I enjoyed it, but I'd switch to something different for a second.

Photo of chaduvel
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2002, aged by me for more than a year.
Thick black motor oil of a brew with hardly any head despite a vigorous pour. What faint froth appeared was dark tan in color. Smell is of fresh ground espresso, baking chocolate, ripe dark fruits and complex hoppiness. Taste is overwhelming bitter with bitter baking chocolate, espresso again, and oily resiny hops all over the place. I thought aging would mellow this thing out...not so. A bit too much hop component for my liking, but I can appreciate what they are going for here. One was plenty.

Photo of Rastacouere
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.6% version
Black body with a chocolate head screaming: "Hey, I'm the lord of the night". Chocolate head, fully diminishing, but nonetheless leaving an impression at 11%+. Aroma is not so intense, but so bold, greasy, almost closing to bacon with coffee notes and dirty earth hops. Palate is vinous, very rich, very hopped, very chocolatey. Intense, profound, extremely hopped with a sharp bitterness. Full bodied and flavoured with alcohol being more and more noticeable toward the last sips. Evil, warming and just monstruous/intimidating.

Photo of counselor
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh my, a rival to the storm king. this is a really good example of an imperial stout, one that I'd love to be able to brew myself. Pitch colored beer with a this tan head that left good lacing down the glass. The beer smells of alcohool, roasted notes, hops, and chocolate. The taste was right on warming the moth, throat and belly woth chocolate, caramel, deep fruit and aclohol notes. The mouthfeel was cool, coating the teeth and gums, lingering the flavors after each mouthful, allowing the hops to work their magic, drying everything out to make me reach for the next mouthful. This is the best rogue i've had to date and will be enjoying this one again.

Photo of BeefyMee
3.07/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 bottling

Appearance: Black as the cold cold night but with nothing that could be called a head. There was just a little bit of foamy bubbles sitting on top with some brown spots floating around.

Smell: Espresso and dark chocolate and alcohol to boot. Very rich smelling.

Taste: Something went wrong here. Not by much; just a little bit. There's just something that puts me off a little. I think it's too much of a bittersweet chocolate taste. You know the kind for baking that sat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator when you were a kid and when you saw it you would get excited and think oh boy we have a whole bunch of chocolate and then you tasted it and it tasted like garbage? That's the kind. The alcohol also comes on very strong. Maybe this beer needs to be aged a little more. It's kind of brash all around.

Drinkability: Not horrible in this department, but it is quite warm as I am about to finish it so it obviously has taken me a while to drink. Some sips were nice and easy though.

Beef Notes: I'm a little disappointed in this one. I'll have to try it again sometime or maybe I'll age a bottle. Then again, it seems like it's just not the imperial stout for me.

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 vintage. 12 oz. bottle served at cellar temp in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Jet black with a dark brown and dense head that had some ruby highlights. Head recedes to a film and a ring in a beautiful slow fade. No lacing

Smell: Espresso, dark chocolate, piney twang of Chinook (ain't no nooky like Chinooky), vanilla, toasted malts. Agressive hopping for the style, but this is Rogue so it's to be expected. Nice sniffin' beer.

Taste: Exquisite, heavy roasted and smoky malts. Some lovely cascade and coffee bitterness. Alcohol quite well-masked. Very dark and intense. Numm-i-licious.

Mouthfeel: Rich and thick, substantial and hearty. A taste that dominates your mouth with aftertastes what linger forever.

Drinkability: You know that one cough drop commercial where the nebbishy guy with the cold ends up in a sauna with two large Russian men who are wearing nothing more than a towel, a hat and a smile. One of them says in a deep basso profundo voice, "HA HA, BREATHE MY LITTLE FRIEND" and them claps the guy heartily on the back? That commercial.. yeah, well this beer is the liquid equivalent of Mr. Burly. A very satisfying West Coast Imperial Stout. Not one I'd throw in front of a beginner (not that I'm some friggin' master here), but definitely very well made.

Photo of mschofield
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the deepest black, opaque even when held to light.
A chocolate colored 3 finger head tops it off, the head is darker than the body of many stouts.
Strong coffee aroma, with alcohol detectable.
Taste notes of dark chocolate, coffee, burnt bread and plum, the alcohol doesn't come out in the taste, but plenty of other things show up in small amounts.
Syrupy, and full-bodied.

Photo of faernt
4.61/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This comes in a 12 oz bottle dated 2002. I don't miss the nips. It pours with a skim of a head moving to a ring of dark amber that dissapates completely as I drink. The beer is opaque and when I swirl the glass it changes the clear glass to amber. Even the foam residue on the side of the glass is amber.
The smell is funky then sweet. The taste is very complex moving from chocolate to esspresso and then sparkling on my tongue (without the carbonation) The hops appear sporadically; weaving in and out like a base in a good jazz quartet. This is the second time I've tasted this vintage. The last time was about a year ago and it wasn't anywhere near as good as it is now. I will now always wait for this one to develop. The mouthfeel is thick but not cloying due to the complexity of the flavors. I'll drink this as long as I can differentiate the details. It would also be fun to do a quartet tasting of Bell's Expediton, Victory Storm King, Stone Imperial, and this one. What are friends for?

Photo of ngandhi
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 Vintage tasted January 2004.

There's dark chocolate, then there's Rogue Imperial Stout. French dessert chefs would kill for this recipe. News from the brewery is that the "Two Secret Ingredients" are Jacques Torres and Juan Valdez. Light but biting with carbonation, this beer does well to accentuate the delicious and very forward Cascade hops (who knew they could be so smoky?!). There's no head, but it would've just gotten in the way. Rogue has taken every extreme and balanced them to a state of elegance. Slutty yet sophisticated.

The very long, developing finish shifts from green, leafy Cascades to chocolate to coffee to toast to charred caramel to, at last, a rich double maduro cigar. This is the classic stuff of Shakespeare Stout brought to arm's length of perfection -- as sinful, decadent, and debilitating as the world's finest pinot noir. If Satan had never fallen, this might have been the blood of Christ. But only Rogue could turn water into something this fine.

Relax, relax.

Photo of CBFanWish
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The thick dark concoction pours into the glass like death sneaking up on its next victem. Slow and silent. It climaxes with a thick frothy brown head that looks as if it were truely meant for an emporor, not for the likes of me. The smell is of fruits and roasted malts. Though I know I'm not worthy of such a beer, I taste it anyway. The roasted malts were the first thing that I tasted. They were strong with a smokey feel to them. There was also a bitterness that I knew to be dark chocolate. I also got a nice dose of fruits. What ones, I couldn't pinpoint. Good stuff.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

i was shocked that i fidn't enjoy this one more than i did. imperial stouts have been all over the place for me, lately. some are fantastiv, others are okay. being from rogue, this brew is a class act and finely made, just not completely my taste. first off, this is from a tasting of the 2002 version. it pours quite lovely, black as hell with a thim, dark tan head. nice, but not as impressive as i had imagined. the smell is predominantly of alcohol, malt, licorice and other sweetness. there are traces aof oat and coffee here as well. the faintness of the coffee smell appealed to me, but it was just too overpowering in the taste. the bitterness here was nice along with the hoppy but tart finish, but i just couldn't get past the abundance of coffee here. again, well made, not for me, though i can definitely say i'd try one again in the future...likes and dislikes always change, at least for me.

Photo of twilight
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour is beautiful. Thick like motor oil and "black as midnight on a moonless night." A dark head on the beer which eventually disappears into a ring around the edge of the glass and eventually becomes headless. Nevertheless, this is one of the more beautiful beers I've seen. The smell is slightly alcoholic, and slightly burnt. Nothing too special, though.

From the first sip you know this beer is something special. The taste is of an overwhelming dry roast but mellows out into malty sweetness once your palate gets used to it. There are plenty of dark, dark roasts here. The beer covers your mouth like a thick syrup with dark bitter malt flavors which give way to the alcohol and sweetness that you expect from a good imperial stout. Missing, though, are caramel flavors, but then again, for this one, the roasts are the main attraction.

I know I wouldn't be able to drink this one all night, but it does warm the belly. Excellent for a cold winter's night like tonight.

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

Pours like motor oil with a little sediment and a nice thick brown head.

Smells of roasted malt, raisins, a little bready on the nose as well.

Has a nice dry roasty flavor, hops lend nice flavors, and the alcohol comes in somewhere in the middle but its hidden away. The finish is dry and somewhat sweet.

The drinkability is only hampered by the apparent alcohol, this is a sippin beer.

Photo of garymuchow
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from 2002.
Pours black and a little syrupy. Presents with the darkest head I've ever seen with strong black hues in a brown/very dark tan 1/2 inch head that actually stays for a little,but eventually has just a ring that leaves lacy remnants.
Aroma of dark roast and hints of a fruitiness presence. Others have picked up hops, but I have not.
A nice bite of sharp dark roast malt at the tip of the tongue. Covers the tongue like old oil as it smoothers the muscle from front to back then leaving an extremely long dry hoppy bitterness and burnt roast flavors in the whole mouth as a final reminder of what's been experienced. Sweetness is strong but doesn't move to excessive for my taste, yet still pushes limits (like trying to maintain control on an acid trip- begging the question how much can I stand and still be having fun?). Hops gradually take on stronger role as warms (like so many Rogue beers) lending an increasing presence in flavor and bitterness, but in an enjoyable manner on both accounts. Alcohol understated in flavor.
Very smooth in a very thick and heavy manner. The fineness of the carbonations offers pleasing qualities as swished around the mouth and enjoying the whole experience of each sup.
A very nice drink for a cold January night in Minnesota.

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1997 vintage. Not a real looker going into the snifter. No head whatsoever, just a viscous thin dusting of bubbles; there is a slight liqueurish "cling" to the liquid. Almost totally black, with purplish highlights. Aroma is a bit better. A melding of dry sweetnesses: prunes, port wine, currants, and a brace of alcohol; a hint of cakey yeast. Dense. Flavors (in order of appearance): strong coffee grounds, dried fruit (prune, raisin), dark chocolate. Weaving through all these roasty, toasty flavors is the sweetness of port. Alcoholic yeast licks at the roof of the mouth. Oak tones emerge by the time the beer gets to room temperature. Mouthfeel is winey and mellow, extremely light for the style. Balance, balance, balance. Drinkability brings with it a nice alcohol warmth. The bottle reads "best when consumed after 1 year." This being the first and only bottle I've ever had, I wouldn't know if it was past its prime. I'd imagine that younger bottles might fare better in some departments, but six years on the shelf did things to the flavors that I found nothing short of extraordinary.

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

It pours a dark, dark rich brown, building to an even inkier darkness, devoid of light's passage. There's a quick, light brown head, which at that point provides the only color in the glass, which fades quickly to sparse swirly bubbles. There's spotty but lasting oily lacing on the glass.

The aroma brings substantial hops, citrusly and densely fruity, which are quickly overwhelmed by the air of deep roasted malt. Resplendent in the aroma as well are notes of cherry, espresso, and alcohol.

The palate quickly notes a stark, bitter hops kick drying out the tongue, followed by a dark, chewy roasted malt wash that comes in just short of burnt. The interplay between malt and hops here builds on both elements, creating quite a sum of the parts. The alcohol is notable, especially during the intake of air on a sip. There's a strong espresso-bitter malt finish as well as one final dry hops assault.

It's thick and heavy bodied, with 20w50 viscosity and genuine texture. Tendrils ooze about the palate, depositing serious flavor density. The finishing hops aura lingers long and happily.

This a lotta beer! There's nothing mild or subtle...it's an in-your-face stout that makes you sit up and take notice. You experience it as much as drink it. The high ABV is not at all shy in making itself known, but the big-league, high octane flavor tempts you to have more, despite that alcohol. And yes, I'll brave that demon to have myself more.

Photo of aaronh
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a decent head that shows dense carbonation and a velvety milk-chocolate color. The body is pitch black. The aromas are very heavy on the roasted notes, leaning toward burnt, with a touch of alcohol sweetness. The first sip reveals an almost burining, smoky bitterness from the heavily roasted malts. A touch of sweet smokiness makes you think your eating a severly burnt marshmallow from the campfire. The charred flavors continue to dominate even as the beer approaches room temp. Some more balancing sweetness appears, and actually helps reveal the hop flavors a little better. Mouthfeel is solid, but with a rather dry finish. Burnt flavors linger uncomfortably. Drinkability is acceptable, but there seems to be a bit too much black malt in this one. Give me a little more chocolate/roasted flavor without the acrid bitterness, and this would be outstanding. As it is, it's a one-timer.

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a pitch black with almost no head, just a charred tan ring that didn't even consist of bubbles. Smell was strongly reminiscent of worcestire, meat, damp dog and thick malts, all of which were infused with a off smelling hop juice. Taste was bitter grains, raw chocolate sans any type of sweetening and tons of brutal over the top Rogue hops.I am a minimalist when it comes to carbonation, but this was overdoing it as there was no carbonation whatsoever. The beer was completely muddied by the fact that the hops and the malts did not acompany each other in the slightest. I will certainly not pay Rogue XS prices for this again. Stick to the I2PA.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nearly Le Coq in style, this is a true Russian Imperial style stout. The thick, oily body is inky black and has moderate carbonation. There is a lovely chocolate malt looking head and incredible full lace along with a thick, rich body.

The nose shouts out, and supplies ample substance of roasted barley malts and subtle whiffs of the balancing hops. Bitter flavors cover all but the alcohol level, which keeps the taste quite dry. The taste also has an earthy, ash-like quality to it that is more pleasant than it sounds. Full mouthfeel is joined by a pleasant and lingering aftertaste. This is not lightweight stout, but rather a heavyweight slugging its way into the battle with full roasted delights and heavy-handed body punches.

Photo of taez555
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a pitch-black body with a thick but small dark brown, /tan, almost red in the right light, head.

The nose was a nice mix of very fresh barely. Like that smell when you’re walking around a brewery. That mixed with chocolate, sweet chocolate, nuts, and walnut shells. Really an amazing smelling nose. Very inviting.

The taste was big and full-bodied. Dark rich malts with a burnt, almost smokey taste. Roasted coffee beans or chocolate. Very evenly bitter for such a big beer. It starts big and malty and ends with a nice hop bitterness with a slight campfire taste as it fades off.

Overall just a great imperial stout. It gets a little more bitter and metallic, but still, a very tasty stout.

Photo of Winter
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 edition. Pours a thick black with an equally impressive brown head. Aroma is heavily vinous with a hint of cherry and alcoholic vapors. Almost reminds me of drunken chocolate covered cherries. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with a sharp carbonation. Initial flavors consist of dark fruits and bitter chocolate. Hops swarm in quickly to balance the malt flavors and take center stage midway through. Finishes with cherry and a smokey lingering dryness. Highly alcoholic, which detracts a bit from the overall drinkability. Wonder if it's past its approximate "3 year prime", which others may have referred to? To me this beer seems to have peaked. Why this happened, I'm not quite sure for a beer of this abv. A powerful Imperial Stout which can provide quite a KO punch for the unprepared.

Photo of johnrobe
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2001 edition.
This is a ridiculously good beer! Compared with other Imp. Stouts I've tried this seems noticeably more bitter, but that plays into a lingering, memorable finish... I'll get to that later. Motor oil black and opaque, like you're way beyond your 3,000 mile oil and filter change. A dense light brown head reduces to a cap but leaves sticky remnants down the sides of the glass. Decadently rich aroma....dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, a rich full city roast coffee, and sweet, sweet malt, but with a slightly citric note that makes it all seem, for lack of a better word, fresh. Bitter chocolate, caramel, espresso, and a slight smokiness are elegantly intertwined in the flavor. More bitterness in the form of citric hops and roasted barley come on strong in the finish and the smokiness develops a bit more as well, lending a somewhat dark, earthy tone reminiscent of a fine maduro cigar. Outstanding!! The alcohol presence is felt but does not interfere with the flavor.

Photo of granger10
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a tar black color and was very thick in body. For some reason this lacked a head when poured into the glass and had little carbonation. That might have hurt the beer but it was still very imperial in smell and taste. The alcohol was noticed and the body was very chewy. This one was extremely balanced, maybe a little too balanced for my liking. Bittersweet malts up front followed by a molasses flavor sweetness. The hops come in a play a prevalent part in this beer. It finishes roasty. Well done, I only wish that it would've been more carbonated.

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've got four Russians in front of me... ahhh!

Harvey & Son A.Le Coq Tribute 2001
North Coast Old Rasputin
Rogue XS Imperial Stout
Weyerbacher Old Heathen

Rogue XS Imperial Stout

Poured thick black opaque culminating in a tan-brown dense foam head layer chocked with random sized bubbles the largest of which creating "eyes" beckoning me to take a sip.

Nice lacing and coating of the glass' walls. Layered lacing as I drank down the beer. This Imperial Stout coated the glass as if it was a viscous layer reminding me of a light oil.

Little if any nose. Perhaps a touch of malt and a hint of alcohol dryness.

The flavor is up front and robust-- opening with bitter hops, hops and more hops. I detected hints of licorice and a tart overall character that segued into a long lingering finish with the beer's alcohol content cleansing my palate.

Overall mouthfeel was that of a thick congenial libation, yet the flavor seemed to be overwhelmed by the hops bitter signature , drowning malt, and other complexities ... leaving my taste buds with little else to grasp.

Nevertheless, an enjoyable beer and certainly conforms to the profile of a hearty robust Imperial Stout.

Of the four Imperials in front of me, I slide the Rogue to second place- behind the A.Le Coq. Not only did the A.Le Coq have a fruitier nose, but it also produced a far more complex flavor and a thicker heavier mouthfeel and flavor body.

Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,227 ratings.