1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Cryptical Imperial Stout - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Cryptical Imperial StoutCryptical Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

93 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 93
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 15%
Wants: 2
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  7.52% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: on 11-05-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 93 | Reviews: 17
Photo of gestyr
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a wine glass

A: Pours a very deep brown/black with ruby highlights when held to a strong light. The head is beige and fades quickly leaving lots of lacing.

S: Dark roast grains, coffee, caramelized molasses, raisins, very subtle aroma of hops.

T: first off, malty and roasted grains. Some hints of dark fruit and caramelized molasses, definite hops bitterness on the back of the tongue/throat. Slight alcohol taste.

M: Full bodied and smooth. Slight alcohol sting.

O: A good solid example of American RIS. Gos down smooth, lots of flavor.

Photo of hops202
3.27/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bomber poured into stone snifter.

Appearence is decent - might be the best thing about this beer. Nose has some good roast, char, and some coffee. Taste unfortunately is not as good and is seriously lacking. Lots of IBU but not done well. I'd be curious to see if the BBA version is any better.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

In true "Russian Impaerial" style, the common roast flavor of stout is met with subtle fruit and spice elements. Starr Hill doesn't mess with the recipe too much as its these finesse elements that provide its own complexity and charm.

Cryptical pours with the darkest of dark brown hues and even black though its center. Its certain tar-like appearance allows for a slow and frothy lather to build upon the beer, lasting half the session. Its broken lace is somewhat sparse but only halts when does its delicate creme.

Bold roast aromas leap out immediately, bringing with it the scent of molasses and burnt toffee to balance the char. Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate and an earthy walnut note keeps the charred scent relegated to campfire; and so do the fruity aromas of plumb, grape and licorice spice.

Its taste is lead by the burnt sugar and charred toast flavor as molasses and toffee offer the counterpart to burnt embers, dark-roast coffee and cocoa powder. As the beer crosses middle palate, a fruit-filled center of plumbs, grapes, cherries and blackberries weave into a fennel-type spice for the culmination of licorice and then trailing with a spiced rum alcoholic finish.

Its full and creamy body is assisted by ample malt sweetness and stern carbonation. But once the carbonation lifts and the bulk of sweetness subsides, the beer lightens considerably late. As the beer closes with spicy rum-like alcohol, fruit acidity and mild; it lingers long and indefinite.

Its becoming rare to find truly "roasty" Imperial Stout with those subtle nuances of fruit, spice, earth and rounded sweetness. But with Starr Hill's dedication, the style is in good hands!

Photo of KYGunner
3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This had a deep dark ebony hue that had a trace of white film on top for a head.

The aroma was very light but it had some coffee, chocolate and smokey char.

The flavor was also considerably light, tasty but at times hard to detect. Chocolate fudge brownies with some charred coffee and light hoppiness.

The feel is dry and even a tad watery, in line with the light complexion of this stout.

At 8.8 ABV I would have thought that this would have had more malts and therefore more flavor but it is simply too weak to get a higher score.

Photo of cyclonece09
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours pitch black with a small light brown head. Smells of chocolate and slight candy like caramel. Tastes of very rich chocolate with the taste of aging being present, nice balance. Beer is carbonated lightly, full bodied, definitely more of a sipper than a sessionable. Overall, an above average beer.

Photo of Ryanm1
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this straight out of the bottle. This is labeled as am Imperial Stout/Americal Double. I'm sure black in color. I thinkBeer Advocate got it wrong calling it 7.52% abv while on the label of the bottle it says only a flat 7%. My first impression by reading the label is that "this is a bit on the lower side of ABV" for an imperial beer. I thought this beer didn't really have a lot to offer. I thought for an imperial stout it was overly hoppy. Sky high 70 IBU rating. You hop heads will enjoy it. Upon checking the Starr Hill site it states that this beer uses Simcoe hops which are thought to have a cult following. Doesn't stack up against the really good imperial stouts such as Old Ras and Yeti.

All and all, if you're a hop head you'll like it, if not, I'd pass on this one.

Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Served in a snifter, dark brown-black pour, with a small, tan head; moderate retention and lacing. Aroma of roasted malts, coffee, hints of anise. Roasty dark malts, pretty typical stout material, ntoes of coffee and anise detected in the aroma, with a slight earthy hop presence. On the heavier side of medium-bodied, soft carbonation, fairly smooth, but not quite as rich as many of its peers. Pretty solid basic stout overall.

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Birthday gift from "bro" Artied2... 750ml bottle, with no freshness dating visible...

Using a small DT tulip, this bier has an opaque, dark brown color. Head is frothy and rocky, nicely beige colored, and lasts well at about 1/2"... Lacing? Quite nice and lasting well... Aroma has some bitter, burnt notes, plus some licorice and a little florality. The bier passes rather smoothly down the hatch, and the body is medium at best. With this style, I'd like to see more "oomph" and heft bodywise.

Flavor is malty and roasty, with dark choco, cocoa and some espresso notes. A little bitter coffee is also present, plus licorice and floral, flowery hopping in the dry finish. Verry similar, imo, to Smutty RIS.... Thnx Bro!! Prosit!

4.03/5 rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1550

Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a absolute black and produced a light brown creamy finger high head that actually left good lacing.
The smell is of roasted malt, some coffee and has some hop notes in the nose.
The taste is roasted malts, coffee and dark bitter chocolate. In the finish there are quite a lot of hop flavors, which I find I characteristic for an imperial Stout.
Otherwise a nice drinkable Stout.

Photo of Beer_Runner
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 09/07/12, and aged about five weeks before opening.

A: A fairly aggressive pour into a standard pint glass produced about an eighth of a finger of dark mocha colored head that dissipated to a collar in about two minutes. It did not leave any lacing. The brew is a black hole type of black - absolutely opaque.

S: The aroma is primarily hops - a strong pine and citrus hops combined with an earthy hops that smells a little like wet leaves. And, there is just a small hint of coffee and grain.

T: The taste follows the aroma very closely. There is pine and citrus, and earthy wet leaves hops. There is not much of a malt backbone. At best there is a hint of coffee and grain.

M: The body is light and a little thin with a fairly high level of carbonation.

O: Somehow this beer really misses the mark. It is surprisingly mild for a Russian imperial stout. It does have an interesting hops profile with the pine and citrus combined with something that smells like wet leaves composting on a forest floor (but, not in a bad way). But, the lack of a malt backbone to provide balance and complexity, and make it a Russian imperial stout, really hurts this beer. The brewery might be onto something with the leaf-like hops, but there is still a lot of room for improvement with this beer.

Photo of Chaney
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm actually impressed they brewed this one.

Served in a snifter.

A: Black as night, with a slightly off-white head that clung to the glass and then some.

S: I got slight coffee notes, but overall this was pretty subdued on the nose. Also, there was a good bit of roast in there, much like a nice porter.

T: Lots of CO2-like qualities which I personally dig. Not chocolatey, not sweet, but very tasty. There was a bit of a "vegetable" quality in this beer. Very unique.

M: Like I stated, not sweet in the least bit. The lacing was absolutely ridiculous.

O: I was very surprised by how good this was. Kudos, Starr Hill!

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking stout, good and black with a nice light brown head that left a bit of a foamy cap and left sticky lace.

The smell and taste are of really pronounced burnt and deeply roasted malts, lots of espresso and french roast coffee, some smokiness, and a bit of bitterness that can only come from hops. GREAT combinations of flavors, this is one excellent beer!

Great mouthfeel too, wonderfully thick and rich with a roasty, lightly coffee/chocolate bitter aftertaste and just a bit of sweetness to finish.

Great job, I want more from this brewer and more of this beer.

Oddly, this particular American double/imperial stout isn't of the precise variety that I most prefer, but I still find myself extremely drawn to this beer. I usually like the more vanilla/sweet stouts and milk stouts better, but again, this one is the exception. The rather pronounced bitterness really accents the coffee and chocolate to an extent I hadn't quite anticipated and much enjoyed. Someone obviously put a lot of time and effort into this one, and I do appreciate it.

I would like more of this brewery and definitely want the barrel aged stuff. Great job!

Photo of AgentMunky
4.47/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served in a ten ounce snifter at Brixx in Charlotteville. From notes. Reviewed 20 June 2011.

A: Dark black with a big head. Completely opaque.

S: Roasted malts. Sweet; vanilla beans or bourbon-soaked oak? Ensorcelling.

T: Mmm...Sweet-bitter coffee beans soaked in bourbon. The maintaste is full of dry hops, huge malts, and fantastic stout flavours. Though the main body is sadly short, the bitterer endtaste lingers.

M:A lightly drying beer, bitter so, and rather substantial.

O: I was sufficiently impressed by this beer that my (sober) review is full of modifying expletives, eliminated here for propriety's sake. It has all the flavours a double stout should and is obscenely drinkable. I will definitely have it again; highly recommended.

Photo of willabys
4.68/5  rDev +30%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at the brewery in a 750 ml bottle.

Pours Black, no light passing through the glass, Smells of a Heavy roast but not char, chocolate and nice hoppy aroma.

Taste is very rich and robust. Deep dark roast with out the carbonization of some over-roasted stouts. Nice hoppy flavors erupting, I am liking this one!

Lacing is very heavy running the full length of the glass.

Starr Hill knocks it out of the park with this one. Do check it out!

Photo of engagechad
4.38/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchases fresh at the Starr Hill Brewery in a 2 liter growler.

Pours extremely dark with a fat tan head, easy to manipulate depending on how aggressively you pour. Leaves the stickiest lacing I've ever seen. Smells largely of hops, cascade? Very nice on the nose with some roasty aromas mixed in. The taste is extremely bitter while still maintaining a smooth mouthfeel with chocolate undertones.

This is an incredible beer, which is why I got 2 liters of it. Starr Hill gets beef because they get AB distribution, but damn this beer is good. Give it a shot if you're in the Crozet/Charlottesville, VA area

Photo of dtivp
3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep black with a massive large dark tan head with very long retention and light lacing.

Aroma of roasty malts and burnt grain and smoke.

Taste was dominated by burnt roasted malt, some dark chocolate and a hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel was medium body and smooth with a slight bitter finish.

Overall this was lacking the big heavy body beer taste that I like with an Imperial stout. I would place this as a slightly above average stout.

Photo of argock
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a 10oz goblet at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Black with cap of off-white head with some thin lace.

S: Strong toasted malt aroma with a moderately acrid edge, soft berry alcohol, and earthy hops

T: The burnt, toasted character is even stronger in the flavor and unfortunately overwhelms any subtleties that might be lurking under the surface. The black malt is accompanied by a little bitter dark chocolate and earthy hops.

M: A nice full feel accentuated by the cask delivery. Carbonation is low (duh) and makes for a very smooth experience.

D: A liked but didn't love this brew -- the harsh burned edge seems a little out of place and over the tops and doesn't let some of the finer qualities to come through.

to view more.
Cryptical Imperial Stout from Starr Hill Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.