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Imperial Stout - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,221 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,221
Reviews: 811
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 88
Gots: 75 | 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.

26º PLATO
88 IBU
73 AA
256º Lovibond

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,221 | Reviews: 811 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wl0307
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Revisiting this 2005 vintage after six months of purchasing.
The same colour and appearance as in my previous review--jet black face with a thin layer of espresso crema head.
Rich nose of dark sweet chocolates, treacle, dried longan-fruit, caramel, plus boundless sweetish coffee aroma. Harmonious, settled nose overall, quiet but dangerous...
On the palate, 120% rich and thick textured espresso-coffeeish malts fall heavily on the tongue~~ lots of roastiness and dryish but fruity hops, and a semi-pungent, peppery kind of stimulating and bitter mouthfeel to follow, almost like that of real espresso, you know. The flavour turns very dry after mid-flavour but not so sharp as my last bottle, looking like it does soften in just six month's time!! Great lingering bitter aftertaste of charred wood and roasted barley, with a creamy-textured chocolate-milk flavour constantly in support underneath.
On balance, this beer has improved a big time since its comrade was sacrificed by me some six months ago. The texture softens and flavour thickens, while the most important coffeeish edge of Imperial Stout becomes much more enjoyable without compromising the intensity of the bitterness. Looking forward to trying it in another six month's time!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a midnight black that is very opaque and a seconds after rigorous pour only a thin wisp of a head forms. The head is a dark tan color and no carbonation is visible not even on the sides.

S- The soft smell of coffee and cream with a slight sweet hint to it are balanced by a hint of toasted malt and green hop note in the finish.

T- The many layers of roasted and toasted malt come through with hints of graham cracker, coffee, black roasted malt and dried prunes in the finish. The finish has a nice green hop bitterness with an added spicy from the alcohol. A very slight sweetness in the finish balances with the alcohol and hops. The hops hand on the back of the throat at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with some creamy texture and a very soft alcohol warmth but no real astringency.

D- This beer is a big stout but it has lots of complexity and the flavors compliment each other to create a good balance. The hops come through nicely and the alcohol helps add the perception of more hops.

Photo of nlmartin
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was the 2001vintage. This beer was served in a pub style glass.

Appearance: Poured near perfect blackness. The head was a foamy short lived dark brown mushroom cloud. No lacing was left behind on the glass.

Smell: The smell was incredible. The smell was predominated by roasted and toasted coffee and chocolate. There is some fruity smells flirting under the surface. Traces of spicyness drift about my nose.

Taste: This is really good. The taste is dominated by roasted/ burnt chocolate and coffee; however, that is not the end of the taste. There is a huge fruityness playing around in the mouth. Brief whispers of spicyness make there prescence known.

Mouthfeel: The beer has a hugely chewy maltyness. This is definately a full bodied beer. This beer is a hugely syrupy.

Drinkability: Wow! This is the first beer I have that was aged this long. Vintage date 2001 this is really good and I am going to buy a few more.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite similar to Goose Island's Bourbon Co. Stout, despite the lack of bourbon barrel aging. The thickness, darkness, and aggression is all there. Looks as black as you could ever expect a stout to look. Brown head retention the is unwaivering. Aromas are deep, malty, roasty, expresso, nuts, raisons, prunes...the list goes on. Flavors: see aroma. Overwhelming in the first sips. Becomes more fruity as the beer goes down. Dark dried fruits compound the chocolate and coffee flavors. Hop bittering and flavor add much more than just balance, it adds complexity, bite, and intimidation. Close to being a perfect stout. Only the harsh coffee and chocolate (chalk like) compounded with hop bite and alcoholic heat makes this beer less drinkable than a few others out there. Nevertheless, it's one to keep in the fridge.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2004 drank in 2005): Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge foamy dark brown head with average retention. Aroma of chocolate and toffee is dominant and quite enjoyable. The roasted malt with a good chocolate undertone also dominates taste. I can’t say I really did notice a high hops profile but was not too bothered by that. Body is above average and alcohol is very well hidden which is a feat. Overall, very nice example which is well balance but would have preferred a bit more complexity.

Photo of DogFood11
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oh My! First impression is stupendousss. Huge tan head that forms late. No light is visable through this thick brew. The sample I'm reveiwing is from a ceramic bottle with a flip top. A large XS is written on the top of the bottle

Quite the smokey imperial. Its listed as an american double stout although rogue says its an imperial. This is a dry stout that relies on its burnt type flavor. As much as I wanted to love this beer it was so dry that it parched my palate. Chocolate was the dominant flavor along with a burnt / smoked aftertaste.

for the price, I'm out.

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

2001 bottle:

The beer pours deep black with a thin brown head that quickly receded to a spotty film. No lace is forming on the glass.

The beer smells a bit like chocolate syrup.

The flavor is very smooth and rich: lots of chocolate mixed with a lightly sweet fruitiness. The age on this has really taken away almost all hop bitterness. Tastes a bit like a mellowed out Thirsty Dog Siberian Night.

The mouthfeel is excellent: low carbonation and a thick body. It feels a bit slick in my mouth.

The drinkability is very good. Easy to drink, tasty and the alcohol is undetectable.

Photo of kingjames1
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2002

Pours thick, murky and pitch black like motor oil, and just about the same amount of head - zilch. Despite that, this looks like it might well live up to the hype.

Smells of chocolate and coffee, and roasted barley. Taste is intense, and a wonderful example of a double stout - chocolate, bitter-sweet, dark roasted coffee, burnt malts, with an astringent citrusy wave rolling over, and hint of cough medicine (and rubber?). All in all, very well done - this is worthy of its fame.

Carbonation is excellent for the style, very creamy - velvety. Despite the high abv, this one goes done really smooth. Dangeoursly drinkable. Wonderful! Alas, it is far too expensive for my budget to enjoy more than a few times a year ($3.50 for a 12 oz).

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2001. 12oz XS series bottle. Pours into my SN tulip glass an extremely thick, viscous dark crude oil black with a rising extremely deep tan head that leaves spotty lacing everywhere. Like a black hole..this beer envelopes light. Simply fantastic. Aromas of deep, rich dark chocolate malts erupt with vinous sherry-like scents as well. Notes of bitter coffee, vanilla and burnt malts mix with a citrus hop background that is still noticeable after 4 years in the bottle. I'm not getting any off aromas at all. The anticipation builds...

First sip brings a slick dark roasted maltiness with a big blast of chocolate flavors. Light swirls of bitter coffee along with a vinous and sherry notes backed by mellow alcohol tones. The sweet toasted malts hit initially, followed by a nice bitterness comprised of mellow citrusy, herbal hops. Toasted marshmallow comes to mind on the way down. Big, bountiful and damn good. Quite the impressive Russian Imperial Stout.

Mouthfeel is big, thick and creamy with a smoothed out carbonation that allows it to flow down very easily. At 10.5% the abv is very well hidden and makes it easy for you to get ahead of yourself while drinking it. I would gladly drink another if given the opportunity..but at this abv it's really more of an occasional treat. Truly one of the best imperial stouts around. I'm glad I have a 2003 waiting patiently for me in the cellar. Rogue...please bring back the 12oz XS bottles, please??

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

Bottled in 2003. Drinking in Nov 2005. Nicely aged Imperial. Looking forward to this.

Color is pitch black. Even when held up to light. A little bit of yeast clings to the side of my glass. Smells chocolaty and sweet. Carbonation is fairly light, as to be expected, but I still got a quarter inch head. Taste.. mmmm. Very smooth, very rich, roasty, chocolaty. Full bodied. But totally smooth, like silk. Not at all cloying. Did I mention smooth? I would never guess this was 10.5% abv. I could finish it in 2 minutes, but I'm forcing myself to drink slow to savor it.

Now I have to go get one of these that is freshly bottled to compare with the 2 yr old version.

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

This one lives up to the hype... at least a good deal of it.
Rich big and tasty as double stouts often are and this one pulls it off quite well. Beers like this do make objectivity quite difficult.
Lots has been said of this guy already, so I will just say that it reminded me of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout... which is, still, so far my favorite stout.
This might be my second favorite.
More research is required.
This is one assignment I shan't procrastinate about.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours an opaque black color with a small tan head that recedes within seconds. Lacing is sparse. The aroma is of chocolate, roasted malt, and alcohol. The taste is like the aroma. Chocolate, roasted malt, and bitterness, fill the sip, while alcohol warms the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a good brew, but there are a number of better big stouts that I would rather drink.

Photo of GreenWBush
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 Vintage, pulled from cellar and consumed November 11th, 2005.

Evacuating from the bottle this beer is an oily, tarred onyx. A big billowing, pillowy 2 1/2" head eventually settles down to about a 1/2". Some of the best lace: dirty brown, with glue head-graffiti tacking itself everwhere on my crystal snifter. Quite the presentation, and shows that age has left no negative fingerprint unlike the completely flat, dead 2000 I sampled the night before.

The nose is full, strong, intense: chocolate, marshmellows, vanilla, vinous alcohol, molasses, intense raisins. Anise.

The flavor comes up on you smoothly, sweetly chocolate and velvety at first. A prickly bitterness chimes in highly above the slick, sweet chocolate motor-oil malt body. Diggingly bitter finish as the roast finally chimes in, synergizing with the astonishing bitterness. More molasses and suggestions of oak. A cacophany of colored flavors that I can still taste in my palate the morning after.

The mouthfeel is initially super slick and cushioned velvet, then finishes cuttingly bitter with roast invading the depths of your palate. Quite intense but lovely.

Faint hints of scotch whisky and just the faintest hint of age-related cardboard come up towards the end of the bottle. I think the 2001 Vintage has just crested...so if you've got 'em, drink and love them now instead of later.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to waldowin for the sample. Thick, viscuous appearance. Extremely black in color. Good sized roasted aroma. Has a slight mellow sweetness about it. Big roasted flavor upfront-hints of anise and HEAVILY roasted malt. The roasted flavor is quite big and has a very dry aftertase. Slight oak and sherry flavors. Nice full mouthfeel. Definately a sipper. Not too sure how much I like the dry finish. A great imperial stout but not one I could drink a lot of in one sitting.

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle serving, aged for over one year. Poured out to a dark black color that did not change when held to the light. HUGE, and I do say HUGE, creamy, foamy head of over 1 inch upon the inital pour. Lots of lace, scattered throughout the interior of the glass. Aromas of oats, earth, malts, roasted cornbread, dark chocolate and dark earth. Very nice. Taste is great, and will undoubtedly improve with added time; flavors of coffee, heavily roasted malt, dark chocolate, mild dark pepper and smoke notes keep the palate busy. Very impressive. Mouthfeel was hearty and filling; this will be a good winter brew for the coming months, I suspect. Good drinkability; if I were to have only one brew on the eve of a heavy winter storm, I would look to this brew to be my comfort. Highly Recommended. This is the best Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had.

NOTE: I've got a few more of these in the cellar, from 2004. I am going to try to age one each fall /early winter, to see how the brew ages. Nonetheless, if you have a 2004, it's ready now!

Photo of EStreet20
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle released in 2004. I guess that means it's either very close to or past its prime since the bottle says it's enjoyed best after aging for a year. Poured into a Brooklyn snifter glass.

A - Pours out as black as the night with a tiny caramel capper. No real head to spaek of. Some sheeting as I tip the glass but no lace left on the glass.

S - A huge smell with caramel jumping to the forefront. A bit of chocolate in there.

T - The chocolate is still there but I;m thinking it's the coffee flavors leading this one on. A nice roasted malt flavor on the finish. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

M - A nice smooth feel over the tongue. Actually feels like coffee in the mouth to me, that same lingering aftertaste. Very nice.

D - Definitely one I enjoy sipping. I'd like to have a few of thes on hand during the cold winter months to come.

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

so i'm being lazy today. off work so i've been playing online poker all morning. having shit for luck, though.

getting ready for lunch here i decide to do things a bit differently and try Rogues imperial stout as an appetizer. don't know the age on this thing, but i'm sure it's at least a year, and i have almost two cases of these 12 oz. bottles in my backstock.

this things pours pitch black with no foam and a smooth, still cap.
then the surface starts to give way to lots of bubbling and a small milk chocolate colored head makes its appearance. opaque even when held to my sunlit window. whitish colored chunks lie motionless near the bottom of my glass...the head quickly dissapates. lace avoids the glass, but as i drink it down (the glass) aquires a brownish tint to it.

smells like a hunk of fine imported 70/30 dark chocolate. good toffee overtones and a bit of lactose in the nose as well. all very well integrated.

espresso and dark chocolate dominate the flavour. a bit sweet and creamy, but just for a minute. it then hits the floor dryly and bitterly. very well hopped.

nearing the end i have agitated most of the chunks (yeast i would assume, but maybe lactose?) into nothingness. i am lamenting the brew's disappearance...

mouthfeel is dense and creamy and without significant carbonation at this point. according to rogue's website, it rings in at a ridiculous 26 degrees plato. feels higher...

a liquid poem that begs for moderation.

Photo of jmz62565
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black liquid with a large three finger tan head.the head is a light brown,superb.The aroma is a dark chocolate and coffee,very fragrant.This has a black coffee,dark chocolate taste with a warm alcohol glow.This is very creamy and delicious.A full heavy m/f that is perfect for this type.As far as drinkability goes,I would buy this all the time if I could find it,but it is hard to find.Great job Rogue!

Photo of Lnedrive14
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of that ripoff they call a 750ml ceramic bottle:

Appearance: Pours a jet black, thick looking with very little tan head.

Smell: Pungeant, but not overpowering. Smells of chocolate and toffee with a strong alcohol presence.

Taste: It really grew on me as I continued to drink (hopefully that wan't because of the 10.5% alcohol). At first I found the alcohol aftertaste to be overbearing, but as the beer warmed it abated into a smoothness I didn't anticipate. The chocolate and coffee flavors really started to come out and I enjoyed it very much.

Mouthfeel: I'm having a hard time deciphering why I really liked having this brew tingling my palate, but I did. Truly lovely.

Drinkability: I definitely couldn't of had another! Quite drinkable, but I felt that one was enough. Also not something I would drink every day.

Photo of quasimoto
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black... with an inch of caramel colored head

S - Brown sugar, molases, malts and a back ground of merlot.

T - Sweet, candy molases, grainy malts, coffee, chocolate and high alcohol All of it is backed up by hops.

M - High gravity with carbination at the end that ticlkes the tip of the tounge.

D - This is definilty one good RIS. for its style pretty good.

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

this is an interesting beer. it is the 2001 edition so it's probablya bit over-aged at this point. The look was awesoem with a rich reddish brown head. the smell followed trhough, a little nutty, and a little bit fo a citrus or cherry but distinctely chocolatey. Teh taste was pretty overwhelmingly cofee. good, but not terribly balanced. all in all, tasty to try once, but the 6 oz that i had was plenty.

Photo of UnionMade
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Little baby 8oz bottle from 1996. Given to me by my Chicago friend and fellow BA oldcrustacean. He said he bought it recently at a store. I don't know if Rogue aged a bunch of these and released them for retail, or if the dustributor had them. Either way, it's an old ass bottle and I'm very excited to crack it.

Opens with a slight hiss, and pours like a bottle of waterproof drawing ink, the kind that comes with a dropper and you dip a fountain pen into. Entirely opaque, the last couple sips revealing a thick layer of yeast on the bottom of the glass. I noticed the neck of the bottle, where only air occupied the space, had little yeasty particles clinging to it, as if the bottle had been sitting slightly sideways for a long, long time. When the cap was popped, the underside also had bits of sediment caked to it. Not even an attempt at a head. No bubbling on the pour. Inky black malt aroma, smoothened with time into a down blanket of char, toffee, chocolate and maroon colored fruit. Soft notes of resiny hops, woodsmoke, and currant. A mild undertone of alcohol, baring worn teeth like an old, faithful hunting dog. The first sip reveals that absolutely none of the fire in this beer's belly has been quenched with age. Maybe a little older, a little wiser, but still barrel chested and built like a bulldozer. Coffee laced black-roasted barley rumbles in, clearing it's throat after such a long silence. Strong as ever, but a bit more tactful in it's delivery than when it was young. Baker's chocolate bittersweetness, vinous red grape, heaps of pressed, blood colored fruit juice. Every so often a beer fills my glass that my palate isn't ready for. I know this is one of them. I'm sure I'm missing at least half the complexity in this brew, because my palate isn't refined enough. So deep, it's like a well of regular beer encapsuled in one tiny 8oz bottle. Amazingly, hops are still prominent in the finish, vaguely citric, more piney, resiny and earthy than when this brew is new. Still a good deal of bitterness, quite acidic, enough to retain balance, even robustness. Every sip wants to kick you right in the ass to pay full, honest attention. Really amazing. Strong bittersweet malt flavor in the finish, ending with a grace only acquired through time. Lingering roasty coffee and cocoa. A mouthfeel soft as cashmere, the carbonation like velvet, I couldn't ask for more. A masterpiece.

By no means am I an expert at cellaring. I'm guessing this one was stored very well, but man oh man, I bet this beer would survive a nuclear winter without an off note. Strong, surly and mean as hell at an age when most beers (even some breweries) would be nothing but a memory. It goes to show that american craft brewing ain't going nowhere. I'd guess this has another few years to go before it starts to slow down.
After almost 10 years, this beer, a monster when young, still remains a dragon of a brew in it's old age. Wizened and much more refined, this only grows in character after the time put into it. It goes to show that a little care and patience really do go a long way in aging a beer. I really need to cellar more.

As an afterthought, I'm debating giving this beer a perfect score. After so much time, I really don't expect any head, and the flavor really deserves a solid 6 on the BA scale. What the hell. I think it's earned it, and sure as hell proved it to me. My only complaint is this is the last sip. My first perfect score. Yeah, it's worth it.

Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bottle from Olivers near NYC. Dark black colour, wide-waffing aroma. Taste is like many other imperial stouts, imperial porters I have had. Maybe a notch below because of sour finish. Very coconut and bitter baker's chocolate presence. Very high alcohol kick.

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

Bottled 2003. No head at all and a black as coffee colored beer. Nose is very agressive still even after 2 years giving lots of hops and even more roasty chocolate. Some cacaonote, caramel, malts but overal roasty. As is taste; woww this is mega bitter and burnt. Didn't know that many hop fit in one brew and wonder even more how this one could have come through the lautertun. Anyway good sweetness, alcohol, cacao but mostly just burnt and bitter. Thick mouthfeel with it making the mouthfeel edgy but IMO wonderfull. Hard to drink this much roast and hops in one but to me just great.

Photo of whynot44
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black brew with a short coffee colored head that, nevertheless, hangs on as a thin layer and manages to leave a trail of lace down the glass.

The aroma is coffee, dark roasted malt, licorice and plums with a hint of dark chocolate and alcohol.

The taste is similar, lots of rich dark coffee notes, dark chocolate, raisins, figs, plums, with a citric hops bite. The alcohol does not really intrude as taste but you know it's there.

This is definitely "Big Beer", full bodied, creamy, almost oily mouthfeel, great for a cold fall or winter day.

And the 750 ml matte black ceramic bottle with a toggle cap is impressive.

This stuff could seriously hurt coronaholics.

Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,221 ratings.