Imperiale - Ninkasi Brewing Company

Not Rated.
ImperialeImperiale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

210 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 210
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.17%
Wants: 6
Gots: 30 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: flexabull on 11-05-2011

Formerly Imperiale High Gravity Stout

Rich, full bodied and surprisingly smooth, Imperiale Stout has a big roast hit up front, and rich, dark malt flavors balanced with ample hop bitterness to finish.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 210 | Reviews: 75
Reviews by kemoarps:
Photo of kemoarps
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

dark cola with a pillowy almond head. Sticks around. Quite pretty.

The nose is roast malts, maybe a little bit of hops in there as well? Somewhat sweet in a toffee like manner. Some vanilla?

Taste is... I can't quite put my finger on it. roasty and dark. Some bitter finish. Almost some smoke to it?

smoothe enough. Solid enough stout, there's something odd about it, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It's tasty though, just not life changing.

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle. I love how this is called "High Gravity" here, like anyone would look at a north of a 9% ABV brew any other way.

This beer pours a solid, light diffusing black, with the barest of basal cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, frothy, and rocky Dockers tan head, which leaves some decent pockmarked inner city wall lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of roasted, kind of meaty caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate, a touch of funky yeast, vanilla-tinged brown sugar, very meek and muddled dark fruit notes, and earthy, leafy, and fairly herbal hops. The taste is more of the same - bready, lightly toasted caramel malt, meaty wet ash, dark cocoa beans, still apparent phenolic yeast, somewhat acrid black orchard fruit, some real (read: boozy) vanilla, bitter coffee grounds, and more leafy, weedy, and earthy hops.

The carbonation is fairly low, but supportive enough in its plain fizziness, the body a strong medium-full weight, and generally smooth, the alcohol slowly chipping away, Chinese water torture style. It finishes on the sweet side, the caramel malt, chocolate, and booze lording it over the still relevant hops.

Not a bad version of the style, but that yeast weirdness has got to go, man. Other than that, the hops do well to more or less balance out the typical big stout flavours, and once the alcohol comes along, everything just sort of works itself out, y'know? Yeah, the rest of this is gonna go great with some spicy Hunan chicken - order up!

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours jet black with cola brown edging. The head is tan in color, a good finger and a half thick, and holds with good retention. Lacing is spotty, with fair stick.

Smell - Aroma is faint; mostly anise, with hints of chocolate, caramel and coffee. Hops are present as well, though fairly indistinguishable.

Taste - Starts with subtle chocolate and roasted coffee notes, mid-taste is fairly muddled, then finishes with a touch of roasty bitterness and a moderate anise character.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, with low carbonation. Kinda flat. Somewhat chalky.

Overall - This is a decent imperial stout. Nothing that hasn't been done before, and the execution isn't all that great. Drinkable, somewhat enjoyable. Probably wouldn't buy again.

Photo of augustgarage
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Bruery snifter.

Nearly opaque bistre body with faint auburn highlights and a small frothy desert sand crown that recedes to a creamy collar and a messy surface slick. Sandy lacing, viscous legs, decent retention.

Roast barley, coffee, and other dark malt notes greet the nose, followed by some sweeter yeast esters, and a hint of molasses, spice, and a slight herbal note.

Flavors follow the aroma closely with an emphasis on the malts - raw cocoa, toffee, and burnt sugar give a slightly acrid bent to the profile, though it mellows out with a spicy bitterness leading into an herbaceous drying finish. Hop presence is moderate throughout. Well balanced, but not greater than the sum of its parts.

Medium bodied, faintly prickly and moderately warming, though by no means fusel.

A decent stout, though slightly muddled with perhaps an excess of specialty malt or roast barley for my taste. A little goes a long way.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a then tan head on a black body.
The aroma is good. Big dose of roasted malt, black licorice and coffee.
The taste delivers on the roasted malt and strong pine bitterness. Though the transition through the profile is abrupt.
The texture is smooth with moderate carbonation.
Enjoyable if you like a mixture of roasted maltiness with strong bitter.

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really like this especially for the price- pours a charcoal color with light colored head and good retention and lacing.

Smells like a very rich stout- nothing particularly sticks out but there's definitely a good roasted character and maybe a bit of raisin.

Tastes great- big roasted malt character, definitely caramel, some chocolate, and a bit of that raisin/dried fig character. Delish.

Feels pretty good- medium full bodied, modest carbonation, not so smooth. This tastes good; not incredible but definitely very good.

Photo of meno19
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great value for the price

Photo of SpdKilz
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to James (cavemanlawyer) for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a dark black into a tulip with less than a finger of tan head.

Smell – Heavy caramel, malt, coffee, slight hops, and molasses.

Taste – Slight char up front, chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits such as prunes, and a bit of vanilla.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, lower carbonation.

Overall – Not a bad stout…I feel it should be rated a bit higher than it is.

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.29/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with brown highlights. Little head that dissipates quickly. Caramel malt smells.
Taste is rich and roasty bitter. Tastes like hops and amazing coffee.
No taste of the 9% alcohol. Delicious

Photo of Rutager
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours pretty close to black with a nice 2 fingers of thick and creamy looking tan head.

Smell. Sweet chocolate and dark roasty malts with a little espresso.

Taste. Lots of roasty dark malts and again, sweet chocolate. A little bitterness and citrus hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel. Pretty full bodied with medium-low carbonation. A little warm.

Overall. Nice big stout here. Pretty easy drinking considering and tastes good.

Photo of Docer
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Jet brown brew.. maybe even some black! Minimal tan to light tan head which really didn't froth up in a hurry. Leaves a pancake of foam in the middle above the brew with some lacing about.

Smell: (3.5)
- Little hidden beneath a safe malt bill... bready, grainy, lightly sweet.. chocolate, light sweet malts.. not much of a dry or hoppy nose. Meh..

Taste: (3.5)
- Nice chocolate bready grain.. melded very well. Sweet, lots of grain, and sweet chocolate malts. This is an American sweet stout for sure. Perhaps a little grassy touch of a barley used hop, but this is certainly a malt forward sweety.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Credit here where credit is deserved. It has a nice viscous medium to heavy body as a so-called Imperial Stout should. It's a little sticky, but more cloying and syrupy. It could use some more early boil Irish flare. But then it wouldn't be an American Sweet Stout...

Overall: (3.5)
- I guess it is about par with what I would expect from a brewery that took off like a Russian rocket on American fuel. It's a solid sweet stout, but nothing to write home about. Though if it were to be on tap somewhere next to a few other better known stouts.. I may still pick this one because it is easy to drink, and makes a nice desert if a brownie is absent.

Photo of ocelot2500
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

Pours a deep black with a pillowy tan head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of deep roasted notes with some hops to it.

Tastes like a nicely hopped stout. Deep roasted notes lead off with dark chocolate, espresso, burnt sugar, and some slight char. This gives way to some syrupy sweetness. Hops add in with pine notes. Touches of dark fruit come next as well as some alcohol. Finishes with a slightly acrid burnt note.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is tasty, but be prepared for a hoppy, bitter stout.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 picked up today at Brewforia... Poured into my new CBS snifter... damn this is a big glass. Short lasting 1 finger brownish head... only okay lacing.. the brew is the expected black.

Nose is a bit odd... roasty, but a dark dried fruitiness seems pretty high for the style... dark cherries and some milk chocolate.. not nearly enough "big stout" qualities for my liking.

Flavor begins with mild roasty qualites... again fruity esters come in quickly and hang on to the finish.. light coffee and chocolate.. okay... needs more heft for sure.

Body is sorta thin for such a big stout...

This is an okay brew.. I doubt it will get better with more time in the bottle.

3.5/3/3/3/3

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours an opaque very dark brown with red tints. Thin tan head dissipates to a film and ring around the glass and a hint of lacing. Light aroma of toasted malt and a hint of chocolate. Starts off with a light flavor of toasted malt and slight light fruit. Finish is more intense with toasted malt, some char and a hint of coffee and chocolate. Flavors are somewhat subdued for an Imperial stout. What flavor is present is pleasant and appropriate. Medium bodied. A satisfactory stout that was pleasant to drink, but I'm not sure what the "High Gravity" means in the name, this is a somewhat light to normal stout in all characteristics.

Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a thin collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of black licorice are present in the nose along with hints of dark fruits.
T: The taste has flavors of dark malts with a bit of roast and strong notes of dark fruits and black licorice. A light to moderate amount of bitterness is present. The roasted malts are a little stronger in the finish. The roast becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation, but seems to be lighter in body considering you would expect from the alcohol content.
O: This beer seems to be oddly fruity for a stout, but is interesting and hides its alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of ThickNStout
3.09/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from LetsPour.com. No bottling date. Served in a Wild Heaven snifter.

Pours dark brown with a half finger of tan head. Foam recedes quickly but leaves a decent bit of lace.

Smells of light cocoa, milk and caramel. Not bad but far from outstanding.

Taste is a subdued but pleasent blend of cocoa, cream, oatmeal and caramel. A slight sting of booze towards the finish.

Creamy medium full feel with mild but quite forward carbonation. Fairly dry aftertaste of bitter cocoa and sweet cream.

It's ok. There's nothing here to make me stand up and cheer but I didn't need to pour it either. No off flavors but it just doesn't come across as very "Imperiale".

Photo of nsabo
3.12/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another hoppy northwest RIS. Roasted grains (more like a porter than a burnt stout), chocolate, some booze heat, bitter hops, little carbonation, medium-thin mouthfeel. Not a "big" RIS, but for $5 it tastes like it costs. It's not disappointing, but I won't be buying it twice.

Photo of Zorro
4.01/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown colored ale with a small brown colored head.

Smells sweet and a lot like German chocolate cake. Strong chocolate and caramel. Slight Kahlua scent. Smells quite tame.

Starts out bittersweet with a emphasis on the sweet. Sweet with bitter chocolate flavor. Strong caramel and a hint of coconut, I'm reminded of German Chocolate Cake again. Slight amount of char but this is mainly bittersweet in flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a good stout.

Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A boozy nose, minimal froth, a deep, essentially-opaque brown-black body, and a beautiful label featuring prismatic Byzantine cathedral-domes all conspire to announce this special release as a decidedly imperious stout. Yet it's also not especially thick, possessing a smooth, medium-heft consistency, and that's twinned with a bilious, biting hopping that refuses to let the sweetness or burned-sugar smokiness overwhelm or achieve full assertiveness. Instead, Ninkasi has crafted a big stout that's as balanced as it is bold, boasting bumped-up IBU (reported at 70) and a clean mix of roasted flavors—mostly smoked ash and nearly-blackened caramel—as well as variegated hop notes, which are both decidedly bitter and tart in that grassy, hop-acerbic sense. All in all, a nice, slightly unique, mostly pleasing stout.

Photo of LampertLand
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ninkasi Brewing 'Imperiale Stout' @ 9.1% , served from a 'special release' 650 ml bottle purchased for $7.25

A-pour is a dark brown from the bottle to near black in the glass with some crimsom red peeking thru along the glass edge , with a small tan head leaving a spotty lace along the pint

S-ripe dark fruits , boozey

T-sweet tasting start , not so smooth , slight bitter bite before the swallow

MF-ok/good carbonation , full body , yet it is a bit thin tasting , needs some more ?

Ov-ok beer , ok Imperial Stout , lacks something

prost LampertLand

Photo of velosuds
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Deschutes snifter. Paid $5.49 at LifeSource Natural Foods - decent price compared to other brewery's imperial stouts.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a one + finger, creamy tan head with good retention that recedes into an uneven lace. Second pour after it warmed produced a three finger head.

S-Dark roasted malts, alcohol, and caramel sweetness approaching brown sugar. Faint vanilla as it warms. Not much from the Nugget hops in the nose.

T-Rich malt and dark chocolate with a slight vanilla coffee latte taste. Slight alcohol present in the taste too, but not overwhelming, but not especially warming either. Sufficiently hoppy, clean, and well balanced. A straight forward "imperiale" stout.

M-Very smooth, medium bodied, and nicely carbonated. Not quite as luxuriant as I prefer.

O-This is a very drinkable stout. I think it is one of Ninkasi's better offerings and I will buy again.

Photo of Reidrover
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from "Lifesource" Salem. $4.59 Black as can be with a larget frothy,thick creamy tan head. Aroma is toasted malts, some coffee and nuts...alcohol Very rich indeed, as the blurb says, getting roasty oats in the back ground but the foreground is oddly mellow..drinking chocolate( milk) and hazelnuts..some alcohol evident but not over the top. The palate/mouthfeel is very nice and luxurious. Overall and odd one..kinda tamer than i expected for the strength.

Photo of demon
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Strong alcohol taste. Not very bitter, though very sweet. Nicely roasty, though missing some of the complexity I was looking for. Nice and sticky-sweet mouthfeel. Leaves a kind of lingering, lightly stinging malty characteristic in a way that I didn't particularly desire.

Good, worth a try if you are into imperial stouts, but I'd personally pass on this a second time around.

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours about a one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is very dark, I might go as far as to say that it's not even light brown, just strait brown. One of the darkest heads I've seen in a while. The head isn't really creamy looking at all, it is slightly pillow looking. Maybe a tiny bit soapy looking, but overall it just looks like your standard head, that has no real distinguishing characteristics about it. Mostly small bubbles, a few medium ones scattered here and there though. Head retention isn't bad, I still have a half of the original head left. The lacing looks like it will be very nice, but we will have to see for sure as I get down the glass. The body is just pitch black, damn this is a dark beer. Even when held up to the light, all I get is the slightest brown around some of the edges. I cannot see the carbonation due to the color. Visibility through the beer is zero. Overall it's a pretty nice looking beer so far, it looks very hefty. It for sure looks like a 9.1% beer. We will see how the lacing goes, but I like the appearance so far. The smell is chocolaty, malty, rich. I get a little alcohol on the nose, but for sure not as much as a rough high gravity beer would be, so that's good. Very light sweet smell, as well as a very light sour smell, probably from the hops. I'm surprised the sweetness isn't a bigger smell, considering the high gravity and heavy malts. It's not a bad thing necessarily, but it could prove to be rough around the edges without enough sweetness. Perhaps a little coffee in here too. Maybe even some dark fruit, like black cherries? Overall this is a good smelling beer, but my main problem is that the smell just isn't that huge. It's a 9.1% STOUT, I mean, I feel like the smell should just punch me in the nose, and it's not. It's not a bad smell by any means, it's a good smell with nice flavors coming through, but it's not anything special because I can't smell that much. I think I'll give it a 4, I was contemplating 3.5, but it's for sure better than that. Well that flavor is a little disappointing. I take my first sip, and....I really don't know what's going on here, it's very abnormal. The first thing I get is kind of a sweet and salty sourness. Like it taste remotely what a high gravity stout might taste like, but way too far with the saltiness, and not enough sweetness and other flavors. I mean I suppose those are the salty-like hops I'm tasting? I don't know. Malts really take a back seat in this beer, which is never good in a stout. It almost has a tangy taste to it to, like there is something weird about this beer. I mean with all that being said, it's still obviously a quality micro brew. It's not a bad beer, it's just really weird, not really my cup of tea, or beer. One thing that is nice is that you barely taste that 9.1%, it's hardly there at all. Those weird flavors are kind of starting to settle down now, the sour/salty flavor is more of a hop flavor now, with a little bitterness. I guess the malts have come out a little more, but not much. There is still that overall weird feeling here. I really don't know how to grade this because it's not terrible, it's a good beer, but there are a lot of weird things going on. It's between a 3.5 and a 4, and I really have no idea which one to go with, I'll wait until the beer warms I suppose. The mouthfeel isn't bad. The carbonation is pretty damn low, which is typical for the style, but this may be a little bit too low. The body on the other hand is way to thin for the style, not liking the body at all, it's thin and in no way thick. A 3.5 is actually a little generous for the mouthfeel, even though it's not bad, it's really a 3. The drinkability is extremely good considering the beer is 9.1% ABV. I mean it really tastes and drinks like a 6% or 7% beer, nothing more than that for sure. Great drinkability for the style. Overall this is a very confusing beer, it's a quality brew, but a lot of flavors are very odd. Overall a good beer, but not one I will be dying to have again.

The appearance is a little hard because the body was great, the head was good, and the lacing was good, but not great. The lacing turned out to be average, it was pretty patchy. I mean I guess it followed me all the way down the glass, but by the time we got there it was barely lacing anymore. I think a 4 is fair considering the good head and great body, mediocre lacing equals a 4 total.

As far as taste, damn...I was really expecting myself to give this beer a 3.5 for taste cause of all the weird crap. However, that stuff dumbed down a bit. Also, it is a quality brew, any way you slice it. I'm going to give it a 4 and balance things out by giving it a 3.5 overall. Let it be know that it BARELY got a 4.

Photo of vkv822
2.88/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours black with foamy, bubbly khaki head.

Roasty malts, some light hop, piney/citric notes. A bit rough around the edges, but pretty subdued overall.

In the taste I am getting some roasty, almost charred malts, a light hop profile, perhaps some dark chocolate as well.

A thin to medium body, with subtle carbonation.

A decent beer, though the flavor profile seemed a bit rough, a bit of a faint charred character at times.

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Imperiale from Ninkasi Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.