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Imperial Stout - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,188 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,188
Reviews: 810
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 77
Gots: 70 | FT: 2
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
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Ratings: 1,188 | Reviews: 810 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mmmbeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a giant 750 mL, ceramic swing-top bottle. Brewed with Willamette, Cascade, and Chinook hops and a dosage of rolled oats; 87.5 IBUs. It pours inky black, with a thin cocoa head that leaves bits of lacing here and there. Smells like a box of chocolates, with coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, anise?, and hints of Tootsie Rolls. The first sip begins almost thin, but it quickly becomes rich and roasty, with bitter dark and sweet milk chocolate, strong raisiny/port notes, roasted/burnt malts, coffee, tobacco, hints of leather and licorice, and a hefty bitterness from the leafy/green hops, which, along with the ABV, contribute some heat to the mouthfeel. The body is smooth, silky and quite dry, medium to full with low carbonation, and it leaves a long-ass, bitter finish. Overall, a damn fine beer - big, complex, and deceivingly strong (as evidenced by the spelling errors in my notebook) - I can't wait to sample the 2002 version I found a while back.

mmmbeer, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of yodaseo
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

toffee nut head that was disappointingly bubbly and dissipated quite fast. still left a nice sticky coffee colored lace the beer itself poured a black as the dark ceramic 500ml bottle in which this brew came. the smell was one of dizzying proportions, the perfect mix of coffee, sweet malts, and hops. the initial taste left such a long dry and welcomingly bitter finish in my mouth. i just ended up savoring every last gulp of this heavy but refreshingly bitter and hoppy brew. leave it up to rogue to make yet another brew that breaks the mold.

yodaseo, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of josiahschlender
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was very excited to see the Rogue Imperial Stout on tap at the Concordia Ale House in Portland! Six bucks for an imperial pint...I'm not complaining about the price for this gem of a beer.

Color was black. No light showing through. Moderate, somewhat short-lived head that was very dark brown. Darker head than most beers. Overall, has an ominous look to it.

Smell is strong and bitter, that is balanced by molasses. Also noticed alcohol, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee grounds. Very black roasted grain smells, along with earthy, bittering hops.

Taste is huge. Overpowering flavors fill the mouth. Well balanced sweetness and bitterness. I noticed very strong and distinct molasses, especially as the beer warmed. Dark chocolate and coffee as well. Flavors overwhelm anything else, and last a loong time. I love the complexity.

Body is appropriately thick and heavy. Not quite syrupy, but on its way there. Low carbonation. Coats the mouth, enhancing the lingering flavors. The alcohol is noticeable and warming, though somewhat obscured. At 11%, this is not a beer for the faint of heart.

This is an excellent beer, so strong and powerful. It commands your attention, but might leave you with your attention capacities slightly impaired.

josiahschlender, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of grub
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

got this one from alohaC as part of the BA secret bunny 2007. thanks christian!

750ml swing top ceramic bottle, capped. 2006 vintage.

pours deep inky black with a huge dense brown head. the head drops slowly and leaves tons of lace.

aroma is great. light roast. tons of dark chocolate. coffee. anise. bit of alcohol.

taste is good. medium-high bitterness level. bittersweet chocolate. light espresso. bit of anise. biscuity malt. light alcohol.

mouthfeel is ok. fairly astringent. medium carbonation level. nice big body.

drinkability is good. well balanced and quite enjoyable. this one might have scored better if it wasn't overshadowed by the fantastic kuhnhenn american imperial stout i had earlier in the night.

grub, Jul 22, 2007
Photo of robrobrob
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was a little nervous about this one, costing 15 bucks to fill up my growler and me just building my interest in stouts and I don't like to look at reviews on here before I try something, but I am generally a fan of Rogue's beers so I decided to give it a go. Into a glass it went dark, dark brown, almost-but-not-quite black and whipped up a frothy oak-colored head that didn't last too long, but left a ring clinging to the top of the glass. The smell wasn't overpowering, but included chocolate and heavy cream, it could have been stronger. The taste is really quite good, chocolatey and roasty with a lip-smacking cream finish and warming alcohol all the way down. This is what I want from a stout, I sort of wish it was wintertime right now so I could enjoy it totally, although on a cooler, rainy summer day, this is really hitting the spot. I give this a 4 for drinkability because it goes down well, too well in fact, and I could see myself getting absolutely kablammo in a short time if I had enough of this costly brew.

robrobrob, Jul 17, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a Growler into a snifter. 2006 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a large brown head that quickly drops to a slight ring. Some lacing left around the glass.

Smell is of chocolate mostly with a hint of licorice and alcohol.

Taste is dominated by chocolate at first then is followed by a bit of coffee and a serious alcohol finish. Lots of heat on this one!

Drinkability is lower because of the high abv. and potent alcohol flavors.

Overall a fine RIS. Will probably pick this one up again.

bluegrassbrew, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

7oz bottle received in the No BS BIF Beta from HimerMan. Bottled in 1997.

Poured in a Rapscallion glass, with some light bubbling around the rim, over the opaque dark brown/black brew. No lacing here, but this one has some legs when swirled. Aroma is heavy dark sweetness with figs and alcohol. Taste begins the same dark roasty maltiness, hits some dark fruits quick, and then more or less evaporates off the tongue and is almost gone before you can swallow. Or so it would seem, making an incredible mouthfeel, and drinkability is insane as well. Not that I'll get the chance again, but if I did, I would choose this one again in a moment.

ppoitras, Jun 27, 2007
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When poured down the inside edge of the glass this brew looks dark brown and settles into a black looking body. Frothy 1 1/2 finger head is brown and not very sturdy. Quick swirls don't bring it back. Alcohol is one of the first aromas detected, but is quickly overrun by chocolate, rum, and coffee. Caramel and burnt vanilla also come to mind.
Taste is mainly baked chocolate and weak coffee. Toffee, molasses, rum and alcohol lay just beneath the surface. While not rich or over indulged with alcohol, this brew is not as enjoyable to drink as it might seem (to me). However, it is still a solid beer and I'm glad I do have another bottle.

Mebuzzard, Jun 14, 2007
Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003; tasted 6/11/07

Appearance: Pours a murky dark brown color with a modest tan head that drops to a ringlet rather quickly (to be expected from an Impy Stout this old)

Smell: Rich aroma of bittersweet chocolate and chicory as well as rum-soaked dark fruit

Taste: Starts with a fruity flavor of chocolate covered prunes and figs that, by mid-palate, displays a peppery bitterness; after the swallow, the chocolate flavors overwhelm and provide a rich fudgy finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Four years later and this is still going strong; excellent brew

brentk56, Jun 12, 2007
Photo of kozmo
2.7/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

OK, so the guys at Rogue have made their point with this one. Pours very dark (like no light can escape from the inky blackness) with one of the darkest heads I have ever seen. Bitter coffee stout warmth on the front. Then... wait for it... wait a little longer... THERE, a long and bitter finish that lingers.

To my taste, this beast is a little over the top, the other thing Rogue gets into sometimes. A little flat/simple in terms of flavor. Also a just plain flat
(lacking carbonation).

kozmo, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of Tim2000
2.83/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Sampled at the 2007 Mondiale de la Bière.

Pitch black brew with a slim but tight tan head.

Not much of an aroma here, faintly hoppy with a bit of coffee.

Flavour is sugary with caramel notes and dark chocolate. Dominating hop bitterness reminds me mostly of strong black tea with a slight citric bite. A bit of burnt toast lingers with the hop bitterness. Definitely some hot alcohol notes as well.

Very full-bodied with fairly low carbonation.

I was expecting more from this beer. There was too much going on in the hops department to really be able to enjoy the complex roasted flavours that I'm looking for in an imperial stout. Too harsh to be very drinkable.

Tim2000, Jun 01, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cool looking ceramic bottle (circa 2006) holds an impressive looking beer. Pours a straight black head with a nice chocolate mousse head that recedes to just cover the surface of the beer.

Smell is of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, heavy roasted malts with a tinge of alcohol and hops. Taste is straight dark chocolate, like a dark, bitter chocolate bar from somewhere abroad, a nice, but noticeable alcohol warmness hits the back of your throat as it goes down showing you the 11 percent it has inside.

This beer didn't impress me at first, but after it warmed a little, the flavor really popped out. Good stuff, but not quite the most drinkable beer (to be expected) because of its potency.

saintwarrick, May 28, 2007
Photo of sammy44
2.08/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Think I might have gotten a bad bottle, I hesitated to add this review at all. A 2006 bottle purchased in Gatlinburg in May 2007.

Poured a really good looking beer, typical jet black, little to no head. Smell of soy sauce, alcohol, and coffee.

Taste: Pure alcohol, this stuff was harsh. I'm a bourbon fan which I like to sip straight on the rocks and this stuff seemed to have more alcohol burn than cheap bourbon. I couldn't taste anything else due to the eye watering sear.

Mouthfeel: Don't know, didn't leave it in my mouth long enough to find out.

Drinkability: How drinkable do you think I thought it was?

sammy44, May 25, 2007
Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I purchased a 750mL ceramic bottle from John's Grocery in Iowa City as a graduation present to myself. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to enjoy this until today as a birthday gift for myself.

A: It poured a nice opaque black and very thick. The head was a dark tan, about 1/2" in height that quickly diminished. It did not leave clean lace rings as I enjoyed it, but rather small amounts of lace (1" in length) along the sides of the glass.

S: I detected a nice dual nose to this beer. After pouring and upon agitation, the nose is full of alcohol with hardly anything else. After standing for a short time, the nose is noticeably more complex, with roasted malt, oak, some caramel and some alcohol.

T: I was imagining a strong Shakespeare Stout when I purchased this bottle, but that is not what I got. I did get a very nice palate of roasted malt and slight coffee taste of the Shakespeare, but also a mouthful of alcohol taste. While many people may rate this beer lower on taste due to this, I was pleasantly surprised that for a beer with an alcohol content of 11%, the alcohol taste was not as overpowering as I had expected.

M: The mouthfeel was of a good thick stout. I felt like I was drinking a nice, heavy stout.

D: The drinkability of this beer is quite simple- One and Done. This is not a beer you can drink all night long, or even finish the full 750mL bottle in a single session. I was very happy the guys at Rogue included a swing-top cap for this bottle so you can save it for a later time.

This was a terrific beer, but I am unsure if it was worth the $15 I spent on a bottle.

BaronVonHawkeye, May 24, 2007
Photo of HimerMan
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my review of the 1997 7oz bottle, poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.

First off, these bottles are really awesome, and I am considering using 187ml bottles for my next homebrew.

Anyway - pours with literally a penny's head sitting flat on a desk absolutely black and medium-thickness.

Huge chocolate smell that has a nice roasted/smoked coffee notes that are really easy to pick up.

This is a benchmark in imperial stouts, one of the best on the market. Huge flavor, nice bitterness that is balanced with the chocolate and light coffee-ish flavor that blends nicely on each aftertaste.

Incredibly easy beer to drink - especially after this beer was aged for 10 years. Clearly, it is holding up exceptionally well and after my other review of the 2001 (sampled in the end of 2006), there is no reason to think they will go bad any time soon. After I had the 2001, I was hoping to try something older – and after trying the 1997 and 1996, I am not nervous at all about any bottles from after 2001 – they will age perfectly.

I would highly recommend anyone trying this beer, truly outstanding, and a great collector’s piece since the 7oz bottles haven’t been used since 2000.


HimerMan, May 24, 2007
Photo of kajerm
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ceramic swingtop bomber (which I HAD to stuff into my girlfriend's jacket and take home) at the Map Room. Last beer of the night, and it was a good one.

Pours black and opaque, with a finger and a half of lingering, lacing tan head.

The aroma is chocolate, coffee, and both sweetness and astringency from dark-roasted malts. It smells rich and heavy.

And it tastes rich and heavy. Opens up with malty sweetness, with chocolate and coffee notes appearing mid-palate. Finishes with light black malt bitterness. Unlike the other two Rogue stouts I've tasted (especially Shakespeare), it doesn't taste like they stuffed every plug of Cascade in Oregon into the pot, and the beer is much better for it. If hops are present at all, they are very light and blend indistinguishably with the black malts. Alcohol is present, but this beer really doesn't taste all that hot for 11% ABV.

Mouthfeel is thick, heavy, and chewy; exactly what I wanted when I ordered it.

The beer is too heavy and too high in alcohol to be drinkable, but that's expected.

NOTE: The ceramic swingtop bottle design is much cooler than the bottle pictured, but I'd imagine in a store it's a typical Rogue ripoff.

kajerm, May 20, 2007
Photo of khiasmus
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Black with beautiful light brown head... perfect appearance.

S- Equally malty and hoppy, both very strong, and a little alcohol in the back. A very sweet and very bitter nose... both well done.

T- Initially roasty with burnt malt, but immediately afterwards, tons of hops... tons of hops. But it's good. the roastiness and burnt malt flavor slightly override the sweetness and the alcohol, but all are evident.

M- Thick and smooth, with medium carbonation and a lingering dry astringency from the extreme bitterness in the finish.

D- Not overly drinkable, because of the crazy strong flavor of it. Especially because it's out of a 22 oz bottle. But still good.

khiasmus, May 19, 2007
Photo of rayjay
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Via trade with HimerMan. 2001 vintage, 12 oz bottle. Big brown head that falls in a short time, huge viscous black body. The last once ploops out of the bottle like sludge. Mercaptan and some diacetyl, with huge black malt notes like scortched blackstrap molasses. Great beer aged, as the harsh bitterness has sucumb to the sweet roasted malts. Almost like taking a stout and melting dark chocolate into it. Stainingly, black hole black body, and would stain worse than red wine. Excellent beer, and a perfect example of it's style. Begging to be cellared, I enjoy this beer much more now than when fresh. Chewy, dehydrating, challanging, darn near perfect for a nightcap. Excellent. Cheers!

PS Rogue, stop bottling this beer in a HUGE ASS 750 crock and go back to the 6oz nips. What are you trying to do to us?

rayjay, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours from 750ml ceramic bottle(no date on bottle) an almost pitch black as I can see some slight reddish hues. The tannish head of foam is quite small and there's very little lacing.

The smell has a lot going on. I get a lot of chocolate, toffee, sweet caramel, coffee, and a pretty strong nose of the more than ample alcohol.

The taste is huge. Lots of chocolate and cofee with big notes of caramel hit my taste buds on my first sip. As I take further sips, I'm getting some dark fruit, plum and maybe some semi sweet cherry, but the complexity is really very tasty. The finish on it is a mix of bitterness from the coffee and a slight tartness from the dark fruit. Alcohol wise, I'm not getting a burn from it that I imagined I would judging from the smell but once it goes down, there *is* a slight warming in the stomach for me and man, is this one a thick rich brew when it comes to the body! But it's nice. Yep, this is very nice. I think I'll get another couple of bottles(here in Casper, US$11.99 each) and do a bit of aging to see how things go.

Well, I've finished the 1/2 a glass I had in my New Belgium Goblet and I'm going to put this baby away until tomorrow. "Resealing" the bottle was a bit of a chore but I'm happy that it was as it should keep the beer fine carbonation wise...heck, it's lightly carbonated to begin with, eh? ;^)

Bottom line: It's been a few years since I last had this Imperial Stout...I'm glad it showed up in town again as I think it is one fine sipping example of the style. Highly recommended!

PS: I see a few people reviewed the 750s and mentioned seeing a vintage year. It's not on mine.

Bitterbill, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of bruachan
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i have reviewed this beer, but not this vintage. it's a 2002. ooohhhh

not much chance of a head on this guy. a collar clings to the glass and wisps of tiny bubbles flow through the currents in the black sea

it's somewhat oxidized (what did i expect?) but it isn't enough to fight off roasty notes. moments of coffee-like malt bitterness

it's certainly thinner than the young bottles. heat is only a suggestion at the end of each sip, while blackness dances over the tastebuds. hop bitterness is altered, as it only operates covertly, slyly creaaping from the darkness to be noticed only at the last moment. it's deep and mature, though not as smooth as i had imagined

is it a better beer than when it was young? different

it's interesting to compare to my other review

bruachan, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of MLegendre
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I have to say, I honestly don't see what everyone likes about this beer. I love the majority of Rogue beers, but this one was a huge disapointment...

A: Looks awesome, thick and black with a think dark tan head.

S: This was the first sign that this may be a disapointment. smell was faint, burnt toast and hops and that was about it. Nothing really grabbed my attention.

T: All I could taste was bitterness, like I just drank a shot of strait espresso. Any other flavors were completly overpowered by bitterness.

M: Not as think as it looked, but very smooth none the less. Medium carbonation.

D: For 11bucks I don't think I'll be giving this another try.

MLegendre, Apr 13, 2007
Photo of Solomon420
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 bottle.

A: Dark Dark Dark...need I say more? Poured into a Russian River fluted pint glass. Head rose and fell quickly.

S: Malty roasty grainy goodness with a tinge of alcohol pleasentness

T: At first its alcoholic smoked grains then a velvety smoothness in the platue, leaving the alcholic dryness in the end. I ate a few bits of fine chocolate from the local chocolatier and the taste was enhanced and the smokey grain flavors mellowed down and the entire taste was smoother.

M: Easier to drink than most 11% stouts. Some what smooth considering its category.

D: Overall the taste is pleasant and easy to drink, however at 11%, I doubt you could us this as a session beer.

Solomon420, Apr 13, 2007
Photo of soupyman10
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one hand-pumped at Ashley's in Ann Arbor, MI. Pours a deep brown-black color, with a delicious looking tan head on top. Solid lacing throughout. Looks how an RIS should. Nose is interesting; lots of malt, some alcohol hints, molasses, raisins and a hint of lemon as well. Taste was good, although not quite as outstanding as I had hoped. I guess people are saying that this one has slipped recently. Strong caramel malt, some chocolate, a lot of dried fruit. Hops show up there as well, with some breadiness, and lots of coffee both at the start and end. Good, but not great. Feel was as expected: very full-bodied, almost syrupy, with medium carbonation. Overall, a solid beer, but not quite up to what I had hoped from both Rogue and an RIS. Not quite up to the (admittedly very different) Bell's Third Coast Old Ale I had in the same sitting. A little disappointing.

soupyman10, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 bottle drank. Pours dark, viscous and huge! This is everything a imperial stout should be. Thick as hell, with plenty of sludge oozing in the bottom of the bottle. Smell is boozy roasted malt. Taste is incredible. Very roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and still some alcohol. It’s amazing how time has improved this beer. Only if Rogue still made this beer to this caliber. This is a very good RIS and one that I look forward to drinking again.

FtownThrowDown, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of cameraman
2.78/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a glass a thick black opaque color, with a slight coffee colored head that forms, but soon dissolves away. The scent of dries fruit, currant and raisons are very strong in the fragrance. That is followed by a the sweet smell of malt, a slight twinge of alchol is present as well. The malt is very prevalent in the taste, plus coffee flavors. Then a mild bit of hop bitterness comes foward, it ends with a harsh flavor of alchol. A thick, rich, heavy feel, very syrup like going down, the alchol does leave a warming presence on the throat. This was rather disappointing, Rogue makes excllent brews and I was expecting a very good imperial stout, the taste was a let down and the scent was nothing truely impressive.

cameraman, Mar 24, 2007
Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,188 ratings.