Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Imperiale - Ninkasi Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

79 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 79
Hads: 233
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 22.7%
Wants: 7
Gots: 28 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 79 | Hads: 233
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and slight char aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, char, and slight dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is strong and has a roast bitterness that lingers long after each sip.

 585 characters

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

 889 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
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!

 1,503 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

The appearance is quite splendid poured into my giant tall Petrus chalice. Very dark brown that is nearly black but has some amber glints around the edge. Beautiful off-white, fine-grained foam contrasts nicely with the dark brew. Interesting nose of Dutch windmill cookies and hop resins, but you risk being overcome by the alcohol fumes.

The taste is a little too much of a good thing. It's really bitter, right off. The sweet malt is really quite appealing, but it gets elbowed aside by the harsher side. Pleasant sudsy mouthfeel and a full but sprightly body. Winey with a touch of charcoal. Dark grains, burnt sugar, and a hammer on your innocent taste buds. The hops are wearing hoods and wielding whips. I am not worthy!

Chocolate and hot knives of sharp alcoholic beeriness. Here is a beer that is crying out to be watered down with something-- and I have just the anemic Pale Ale to do the job. And that lovely white foam being ravished by the dark body. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at KNB in San Diego.

 1,018 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.13/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra from eatabagofbooger; thanks man. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my New Belgium globe.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. An inch of head lasts throughout drinking it and leaves some light lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of roasted malts, pine hops, light chocolate, sweet dark fruits, and bready malts. Lots of roasted malts and pine hops with some sweetness to it. Not bad but not my favorite; not the biggest fan of hoppy stouts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, pine hops, sweet dark fruity malts, chocolate, toasted malts, and bready malts. Pretty sweet; more fruit than the nose.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. A bit thin and a tiny bit too carbonated.

o - Overall a pretty average American stout. Nose is pretty good, albeit hoppy, but the taste was a little too sweet and fruity for me. Mouthfeel was a little thin and over carbonated as well. Not something I'd probably seek out again.

 1,019 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.01/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

 463 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
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.


 683 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a very deep brownish color with a moderately sized deep tan head that fades slowly leaving some bubbles and light lacing

S: Smells of chocolate and roastiness, a little booze sting and pretty simple.

T: Taste is an initial chocolate, roast, which carries on start to finish and seems to be th ceterpiece of another boring Ninkasi beer. The finish is rather mundayne with some bitterness, roast and guess what? Cocoa. A little booziness stings on the end.

M: Moderate to full bodied, well carbonated, nothing impressive, not really decadent or appealing.

O: Average at best. I consumed Abyss prior to this and it really showed just how mediocre this beer is.

 672 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.7/5  rDev 0%
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.

 669 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: utterly, completely black with no light allowed through at all. Head poured two thick fingers of frothy dark-tan foam. Head retention is good and a nice chunky lace is left on the glass as I drink. It's hard to improve on this.

Smell: nice aroma of coffee with a hint of chocolate. There is also a hint of vegetal hops here. The overall effect is somewhat mild, however; greater depth and complexity would be appreciated here.

Taste: rich, smooth malt with plenty of chocolatey character, with a little bit of roastiness and coffee thrown in to boot. Alcohol fruitiness adds a touch of complexity to the satisfying base ... I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a decent level of carbonation. Creaminess is surprisingly low; this mouthfeel seems a bit chunky for the style. I would like to have more silky smoothness.

Overall: this beer has plenty of ups and downs, but overall I think it's a pretty tasty imperial style stout.

 989 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beer Revolution 5/7/15 (from notes)

A top filled glass has a deep cola edge in black liquid, not much room for foam but the thin mocha film still manages to leave a few rings

S chocolate of all sorts, lots of dark fruit with a little char ash included, smells pretty roasty

T not far from the nose with some herbal notes, plenty of char and chocolate, not as much dark fruit but still has some citric hops shining through all this darkness

M lighter side of full, creamy from the bubbles, chalky after it settles, bitter sweet, heaps of hoppy chocolate linger

O poured a little cold but still rich and flavorful, no booze at any point, a little sneaky for the size

I though I was ordering the Imperial IPA so this one was a bit of a surprise and a pleasant one at that, I'm surprised it doesn't have a higher average on BA

 846 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance is black with a thick tan head leaving chunky, foamy lace.

Smell is both chocolate and acrid dark malts, and some soft sweet sugars.

Taste is malty milk chocolate, it really drinks much lighter than the ABV would beguile - if you told me high 6% I would doubt it. There's a little herbal hop flavor and moderate bitterness, but by and large it's a pedestrian American start that is most notable for the how well it hides the high ABV.

Mouthfeel is on the viscous side, off-dry.

Drinkability is fine, it's not stimulating, but it's clean and dangerously easy drinking.

 585 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a pitch black color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head has a good level of retention, fading to leave a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a roasted malt smell with some notes of dark chocolate mixed within. Some nice sweeter smells of vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar as well as a little bit of dark fruits of cherry, plum, and raisin are there as well. A bit of coffee as well as a hint of a smoky smell round out the aroma, creating a rather dark and roasty, warming smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a roasted malt taste with a rather sweeter chocolate flavor consisting of a semi-sweet chocolate mixed with vanilla and caramel. More roasted malt enters the taste as it advances further from the start with some of the sweet fading just a tad. All while the sweet fades a bit, a decent showing of a coffee flavor as well as some toast and smoke flavors come to the tongue. In the end, with a bit of graininess as well as the onset of more roast and dark chocolate and coffee flavors, one is left with a moderately, but not too sweet mocha flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker and chewier side with a carbonation level that is quite low. For the style the carbonation and slightly thicker body are nice (although a little more thickness would have likely been even better) making for a good and intense stout flavor to soak into the tongue.

Overall – A rather nice stout overall that is very approachable and that at only ~ $5 for a bottle is a great value. This is a great imperial overall when considering price/characteristics.

 1,760 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice.

A: Beautiful off-white head tops a dark, translucent, mahogany ale.

S: Sweet-smooth chocolate malt.

T: Bitter-sweet chocolate. Fruity malts. A lingering alcohol. This is an odd imperial stout, tasting more of peach juice than bitter, roasted malt. Aftertaste is full of sugars and light tartness.

M: Smooth, but not very impressive.

O: Solid beer, queer imperial stout. I would try another to see how interesting it is, or different. As it is, MIGHT recommend.

 526 characters

Photo of Rutager
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

 440 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 353 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a great Impy stout but still very drinkable. It seemed to be missing the complexity that I look for in the style . As it warmed up I thought it might really open up but it stayed a little one dimensional. I would have liked a little more of a more luscious mouthfeel but all said and done it still a decent beer.

 316 characters

Photo of Reidrover
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

 470 characters

Photo of harrymel
1.88/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Bottled: unk

A: black, a finger of khaki foam falls to a sheet of the same. No lace.
S: leather, alcohol, some hops (piney), a little bit of sweetness from the malts. Some licorice and cola smells. I can't shake the feeling that this reminds me of a bag of teriyaki beef jerky.
T: malt is sweet with a odd gunpowder flavor. Some meaty flavors. A bit of hops. Some molasses.
M: Thin for the style with lower carb. Semi dry finish. Fail.
O: I can't tell if this is a poor attempt at a Black IPA, or a poor attempt at a stout. They call it a stout, so, yeah, it's not something I would offer up as a goodie. Thin and poorly constructed malt wise. I'm starting to think the ABI influence on this brewery is taking its toll...

 723 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle from the mixed winter pack.

Pours a dark black color with a nice white head.

Aromas are kind of faint, but pleasant, light cream, cocoa, and mild coffee notes.

Taste is pretty hoppy up front, with pine like bitterness. Beer then settles into some malty notes, but they take a back seat. Some cocoa, a bit vegetal, with coffee, and light sweetness. Finish is bitter, with hints of warmth and booze, but they aren't as strong as the ABV suggests.

Mouthfeel is ok, but too thin for the style in my opinion.

Overall, I think this beer is a bit better than my score suggests, but still not great. With a label that suggests that this "full bodied... And a big roast hit..." I thought this would be thick and full bodied, but sadly it's not. This tastes more like a regular robust stout. Pretty good, but one of the more disappointing Ninkasi beers I have had so far.

 882 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some coffee, dark fruit, molasses, anise, vanilla, and a touch of earthy hops.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts, dark fruits, molasses, anise, and some vanilla. Through the middle, some coffee comes through with some more dark fruits and some earthy hops. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, coffee, molasses, dark fruits, and some earthy hops.

M - Medium-full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit thick with a sweet, roasted, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice overall balance, could have maybe used a touch more body.

 779 characters

Photo of brotherloco
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. No date, but I believe this was new as of Winter 2011. Served in a snifter.

Pours almost solid black with a 2 finger dark beige head. Settles to a thin covering. Bits of lacing.

Aroma of chocolate and roasty malt. Some dark fruits. Floral hops pop through as well. A little soy sauce. Some booze.

Flavor is mildly sweet, mixed with a roasted coffee bitterness. Dark fruit flavors from the nose emerge in the middle with a little saltiness. A hoppy, bitter, almost IPA-style finish leads to a roasty bitter aftertaste. Hints of alcohol in the finish, but mostly buried through the flavor.

Medium bodied with medium-low, soft carbonation. A creamy, velvety feel.

I agree with the bottle that this is surprisingly smooth for an Imperial Stout.

 758 characters

Photo of elNopalero
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a coffee colored with cocoa foam. I get a mix of dark cocoa, French press coffee, and some green/marmalade notes on the aroma. There’s a piney bitterness with some marmalade and coffee roasiness, and a somewhat medicinal feel. Honestly, I felt like the beer had too much going on, in too many different directions. Glad I tried it, but one was enough.

 364 characters

Photo of CHickman
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a foamy 2 finger creamy/foamy light tan head that was full of bubbles of all sizes and faded slowly, leaving very good foamy lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of chocolate, smoked malt, coffee grinds, cocoa powder, brownie batter, dark chocolate (like Hershey's Dark), light vanilla, floral hops, pine cone/piney hops and charred wood. It's very chocolatey with a lot of char, ash and smoke notes that combine with the burnt malts, coffee grinds and light hop sweetness to make for a nice smelling stout.

Tastes just like it smells with strong chocolate notes as the most dominant flavor, followed by cocoa powder, smoked malt, coffee grinds, burnt brownie or burnt chocolate chip cookie, dark chocolate, vanilla, floral hops, pine cone/piney hops, vanilla bean, chocolate syrup,charred wood, some dark fruit like plum or a chocolate covered cherry, ash and burnt pumpernickel bread. Very rich and malty with most of the flavor coming on in waves of chocolate malts and all aspects of roasted, charred and smoked malts/grains. The hops peek through, but the main sweetness is like a burnt coffee with some cream and a s'mores. The ashy and smoky notes leave a bitterness that is chalky and close to dry but still sweet like eating a Whopper candy ball.

Mouthfeel is slick and buttery smooth, with a medium chewy body that has very little to no carbonation and a thin overall feel, but it slides down easy with no signs of the alcohol and a bitter finish that is similar to a Starbucks Frappuccino with a shot of espresso and chocolate syrup in it that trails off with a lot of charred wood, ash and smoked grains. A big bold imperial ("imperiale") stout. Well balanced with the hops adding a sharp leafy bite and complimenting the malty roast, making it easy to drink.

Overall a tasty beer that had well above average flavor, hid the 9% ABV quite well and happened to be a bargain for NYC at $4.99 for a bomber at Whole Foods. At this price point I plan to buy as many as possible since I really enjoyed this brew.

 2,056 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22-oz.bomber into a pint glass at my house on Nov. 30, 2012 (purchased the variety 4-pack for $15.99 at BevMo (with card) in La Mesa, Calif. (San Diego) on Nov. 27, 2012. Black with hints of red and 1-2 fingers of tan head. Not as good retention as I would have thought. Above average on the sides, but average on the top.

Smelled coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, roasted nuts and a bit of smoky wood fire. A little bit darker than I expected.

Tasted coffee, dark chocolate, dark caramel, dark toffee, roasted nuts and still that smoky wood fire. Pretty bitter.

Full body. Creamy slick texture. Average carbonation. Long bitter finish.

Not a bad stout. Thick, creamy and does the job. A little bit better than expected.

 725 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Imperiale from Ninkasi Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.