Ivan The Great - Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC

Not Rated.
Ivan The GreatIvan The Great

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BA SCORE
86
very good

33 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 33
Hads: 112
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.54%
Wants: 4
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Ungertaker on 01-31-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 33 | Hads: 112
Photo of mypenguin
2.77/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into large snifter

Appearance: Black, very little carbonation. Just a few little bubbles make it to the surface.

Smell: Hints of coffee and a little alcohol.

Taste: Burnt coffee, burnt toffee, just burnt anything. I took a sip every 10 minutes or so hoping there would be some maltiness or anything other than burnt coffee taste, but nothing ever came forward to show itself. After 6 swigs, the rest went in the sink.
I couldn't get past the overwhelming acrid burnt whatever was in there.

Feel: Seemed pretty dry for a RIS. While you could tell there was high alcohol, it didn't have that smoothness I like in a malty RIS.

Overall: The other 3 bottles are going back to the liquor store today for store credit. I figured it was worth a shot at $8.99/4 but I was wrong.

Serving type: bottle (833 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.22/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle $ 2.89 at Lager Mill
Undated bottle at 45 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of roasted malt
No head (Bad!)
No lacing.
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of roasted malt and dates, with the alcohol working its way through. No hops or diacetyl.
Palate full, oily, soft carbonation

Not a great example of a RIS – alcohol is too prevalent and the lack of head and lacing certainly detracts from the appearance for me. Perhaps aging would help. (462 characters)

Photo of jjanega08
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

No dating on the bottle

A= Pours a nice pitch black color with a thin little khaki head that comes up and falls fast to a ring around the rim.

S= The smell is filled with dark roasty malts and some dark fruit that comes through. The smell is admittedly a bit subtle though.

T= The taste is a smooth dark roasty bitterness with some smoke that comes through. The smoke is light and the flavor isn't overpowering but it's a solid tasting imperial stout.

M= A nice smooth velvety feel.

O= This is a solid brew but it isn't mind blowing. The mouthfeel on this beer is wonderful. The smell is a little light and the taste is also on the light side but it's still a great beer. (678 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: motor oil black. opaque. a finger plus of a tan head that doesn't stick around too long

Smell: pretty strong hoppiness. espresso beans.

Taste: strong and bitter espresso beans. a bit too overwhelming. some hop bitterness in the back end

Mouthfeel: not very heavy or thick. not creamy. very bitter

Overall: i've had beers that i can taste coffee in but this beer is straight espresso. way too strong for me. (423 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Solid black with a very small creamy mocha head.

S - Sweet malt, fruity, anise, caramel, molasses, light roasted malt.

T - Molasses, burnt coffee, bitter chocolate, slightly sour, hoppy finish. Slightly harsh.

M - Somewhat thin with low carbonation.

D - Enjoyed the Rye Wyne but not really this one. (309 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slick looking solid black with just a thin ring of brown foam around the edge of the tulip. Some lace is left clinging.

The nose has an off almost sour smell to it with some black licorice, molasses and earth. Hint of vanilla in there?

Strong flavor. Has a rye like sourness to it with tobacco, some coffee and alcohol with a strong hop bitterness. Quite boozy actually. Really a pretty harsh RIS at this point. Would be good to let this one sit a while to round out the rough edges.

Feels way too thin for this style of beer. Has a slick feel to it with plenty of warm alcohol.

A 3.5 at this point, but I think this one could improve if aged. Very interesting take on the style. Can't say I've had one with this type of flavor profile, especially in the hop department. (774 characters)

Photo of Chase_Myhran
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Brau Brothers sends us Ivan the Great.... Should I be scared?
Ivan pours our into a thick black and ominous looking brew with a rather thin caramel colored head that stands rather resiliently. The aroma is that of a smooth and slightly boozy caramel. When Ivan first meets your palet there are no surprises for a Russian Imperial Stout. As Ivan moves to the middle a surprise will meet you. He has a thick and highly rich caramel-ly flavor. It finishes in much the same fashion. The mouthfeel is pleasantly creamy.
Not a big believer in Russian Imperial Stouts, but I have to say this is pretty tasty.
Drink on, amigos! (620 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 bottle

Pours a tan head that fades away. Color is a deep caramel hued brown.

Flavors: Molasses, raisins, and dark dried fruits up front. A fair amount of smokey malts. Lots of dark chocolate. Figs, toffee, caramel. Coffee roast.

Mouthfeel: Rich and roasted. Full bodied. Ends dry and cloying.

Overall, for the price point, I am a fan. Not the best RIS, but far from the worst. Definitely enjoyable. One bottle at a time is enough, however. (448 characters)

Photo of 2Cents
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L. Black as oil with a thin caramel colored head. The lacing sticks around a little while.
At 9.5% there are plenty of alcohol legs.

F. The mouth feel is pretty thick with just enough carbonation. The Alcohol presence is apparent but not over powering.

S. Pretty much your standard R.I.S: Chocolate, Coffee, Licorice and leather. The first bottle I opened was loaded with yeast esters, this one not so much.

T. Roasted malts, caramel, leather and coffee flavors at first, then a grassy, astringent hop taste slides down the tongue and dominates the after taste,

O. This is very close to being a very good American R.I.S but the hops don't quite seat with the malt combo. That's to bad because I like a brewery that grows all of there own Hops and grains on sight and, at least tries to thinks outside the box on hop and grain combos. (837 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Brau Brothers Ivan The Great a couple weeks ago for $2.89 at The Lager Mill. I thought Moo Joos was a pretty good example of the style so I thought I would give their Imperial Stout a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an snifter.

A- The label looks ok, but it's a little plain and it isn't that eye catching. It poured a dark black color that didn't really let any light through with half a fingers worth of dark tan head that faded away to nothing and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This beer looked nice, but I thought the head and lacing were a little weak.

S- The aroma starts off with a high amount of sweetness followed by lots of dark roasted malts that impart a decent chocolate and coffee like aromas with some sweet malts in the background. Up next comes some dark fruit aromas followed by a noticeable alcohol aroma. this beer had a nice aroma that was fairly true to style.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a good amount of dark roasted malts that impart some chocolate, charred malts, and light coffee like flavors followed by a slight nutty flavor. Up next comes a light dark fruit flavor with a noticeable alcohol flavor that isn't too warming. On the finish comes some herbal hops with a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness with a roasted malt and nutty aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer that seemed to be a little complex.

M- Fairly smooth, a little creamy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was pretty nice and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a solid example of the style, it had some nice complexity to it and it was fairly true to style. This beer had decent drinkability, it was fairly smooth and the taste did a nice job of holding my attention, but I think one would be enough for me, I don't see myself having the urge to drink two of these in a row. What I liked the most about this beer was the complexity I thought it was pretty complex for the style. What I liked the least about this beer was the appearance, I know Imperial stouts usually don't have the best head but this one was a little lacking with the head retention. I might buy this beer again and I think I would like to get another bottle to put in the cellar to see how it changes over time. I would recommend this to most RIS fans. All in all I was happy with this beer it isn't the best RIS i have had, but it certainly isn't the worst. This is is my second beer from Brau Brothers and I think they are pretty solid, they seem to do a good job with darker beers, good job buys this was a pretty solid Imperial Stout and it's nice to have it as an option now. (2,867 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Single bottle from Coffee Grounds. Poured in a narrow fluted tumbler glass.

Inky jet black, thin layer of rapidly fading larger bubbles, foundation of tan foam. Some lace left behind, but not much of a head on it. Considering it's approaching 10% abv, that's not out of the ordinary, but it looks a little flaccid. A second and third agitated pour results in nothing on the surface.

Mellow aroma, some sweetness and roasted grains, kind of ho-hum, lacking complexity.

Slightly sweet up front, some graphite, soy, and ashy roast, as it warms this come more to the forefront. Lasting lingering bitterness, slight astringency in the middle. More like a roast malt bitterness than anything hop related, although the label states 90 IBU. Roasted grains, vague honey in the aftertaste. Carob, roast malt, ash. Medium to full bodied. Overall it's alright, but could use a bit more complexity and depth. (899 characters)

Photo of PieOhMy
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into snifter. 2012 vintage.

A Black. Pours slowly. Sludgy. Zero head. Just a black orb. Looks delicious.

S Pine resin. Black licorice. Smoke. Cocoa. Raisin.

T Ooohh. There is the usual flavors you get from Imperial stouts; coffee, dark fruit, cocoa. Bitter (90 IBU). But there is also a little more. A flavor I find prevalent in other Brau Bros brews; smoke and salt.

M The pour is quite misconceiving. It is thinner than it appears. Goes down fairly smooth for the style with a little bit of alcohol burn.

O It has personality. I like that. The bitterness and the smoke really subdue any boozyness. It just looks like a badass stout. While it's not on the top level of Russian Imperials, it is on the next level. I really think this brew would be super good after being aged in bourbon barrels. (809 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz. A nearly becalmed black pour. Some brown throughout, pretty thick looking, but just a few bubbles of head around the edge. Could have just been my pour I suppose.

Aroma, roast malt, molasses, faint anise. Some chocolates.

Taste, This matches the aroma nearly identically. Straight forward, but pretty nice. More roast, anise and some coffee. Dark chocolate. Light hop bitterness as well.

Heavy side of medium body, a little more carbonation than would appear, but not much. Coats well, drinks well. Abv well hidden.
Solid standard RIS. (544 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a robust midnight body beneath the one inch dark tan head which quickly dissolves to leave a thin, sticky lacing.

The aroma offers roasted malt and hints of lactic milk chocolate.

The flavor is much more robust with generous roasted malt, rich coffee and espresso, and touches if bitter dark chocolate and black licorice.

This RIS offers a pretty meaty body with medium carbonation and a hearty roasted finish.

This was a nice imperial stout, perhaps a bit heavy on the roast but for a coffee fan such as myself it is quite good. (539 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours dense pitch black color with a small dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Slight spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, molasses, raisin, licorice, coffee, light char, and roasted/fruity earthiness. Nice aromas with solid complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and fruity ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, dark bread, roasted malt, coffee, toast, light char, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, dark bread, coffee, toast, light char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/roasted malt and light hop flavors; with a nice roasted sweetness/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a nice creamy and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Russian imperial stout. Good complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering. (1,313 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near coffee black with an edge of ruby clarity. A minimal amount of khaki carbonation retains for a moment before receding to a stubborn, consistent outer ring.

Burnt coffee grounds, fudge, a bit of that overripe red fruit, some vanilla or caramel, brown sugar and molasses, alcohol character is pretty damn tame. Smooth milk chocolate with a hint of black licorice.

Not quite as balanced on the palate... some bitter chocolate/coffee/candy that gives way to some raisin, cherry flesh, abstract bitterness, dry coffee grounds... nothing to write home about but I think it fits the bill.

I'm not totally sold on this one but it certainly has some potential. Maybe some time in the cellar would show me something special. (731 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid black in appearance with a massive tan head that had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass.

Straight forward imperial stout aroma of roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, and leather. The beer boasts a lot of IBUs but not much for hop aroma. I do get some herbal qualities.

Big roasted malt flavors and hop bitterness. Slightly smokey and leathery. Also get some coffee, tobacco, and bitter chocolate. The hops give this a herbal/earthy quality. Firmly on the bitter, not sweet side of the spectrum.

The body is the weakest part of the beer. Just does not feel full enough for an almost 10% ABV stout. It does have great carbonation however with a smooth texture.

Impressive straight forward stout. Might be worthwhile to keep one around to age and see what happens. I hope they brew this annually. (849 characters)

Photo of bsp77
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with a head that struggles to form, even with an aggressive pour. Slight lacing.

Smell: Mostly just an oddly sweet fruity aroma. Some caramel and hops. Where are the roasted malts?

Taste: Interesting juxtaposition of unusual roasted notes (smoke, tobacco, leather, char and burnt caramel) and that fruitiness from the aroma. Fairly bitter and abrasive as soon as it hits the taste buds, but becomes more nuanced after that. Pretty hoppy, but not much hop taste truly stands out. Surprisingly little coffee or chocolate notes.

Feel: Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth, but not as creamy or decadent as some Imperial Stouts. Very dry finish.

Overall: This is an interesting take on an Imperial Stout. Not one of my favorites, but would gladly have it again. (836 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of deep tan head that slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A sweet and roasty stout aroma with lots of molasses and earthy hops. Dark roasted malts with hints of chocolate, burnt toast, coffee, caramel, toffee, cream, nut, yeast, and smoke. Lots of molasses and some pretty big hints of anise licorice spicing. A little tobacco and leather. Bigger hints of hops than usual for a stout. Good hints of earthy hops and grass. Decent aroma.

Taste: Follows the nose, although the roasty chocolate flavors are kind of tame for the style. Dark malts with some notes of burnt toast, chocolate, coffee, cream, caramel, toffee, and yeast. Burnt, smoked malt and some notes of leather and tobacco. Sweet molasses and anise spice giving notes of licorice. Very earthy with some good notes of grass. A decent taste overall.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and pretty smooth. Kind of thin for an imperial stout.

Overall: A decent stout overall with a nice hop presence, but could of been more roasty. (1,231 characters)

Photo of dbossman
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Black with a steady, thick brown head; good lacing

S: Dark semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and lots of dark fruits and molasses; something seems a bit off and astringent in the finish

T: Dry up front: lots of semi-sweet chocolate and roasted malts--really roasted; dark fruits linger in the finish; this comes together quite well with nothing strange in the finish

F: Medium body and creamy but not nearly thick enough

O: A really pleasant RIS and so easy-to-drink with no over-the-top alcohol presence (522 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brau Brothers Ivan the Great Russian Imperial Stout. What? An Imperial Stout from Lucan, MN? About freaking' time, huh? Label says: IBU: 90, SRM: 52, Alc: 9.5% by Vol. No further gobbledygook, thank goodness. Let's open it up.

Complete and thoroughly, utterly solid and flawless black. Rich, cocoa-tinged brown head. Looking good.

Aroma: black cherries, rum, and raisins hit first, but let's not forget plum, currants, and then comes black pepper. Molasses, anise, and last, but not least, alcohol.

Taste: Cocoa and espresso flavors from dark malts rush the palate at first sip, coating the sense. Stays long and hard in the mouth, but maintains a medium mouthfeel. Not as rich and full as as some big, bountiful RIS's, but not too far a cry away, either.

A good stab at an Imperial Stout. Not rising to the top of the ranks just yet, but a fairly good stand, nonetheless. (876 characters)

Photo of XxNitExX
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into Tulip glass

A- Pretty much black, with a nice tan head that does stay for awhile, beautiful lacing big thick bubbles

S- Coffee, Chocolate, tinge of alcohol, but a nice hop smell to go along with it all

T- Alcohol is more present with taste than smell but not over powering. Get a nice coffee taste, very little chocolate. Has a very nice hop backbone that helps to balance things out.

M- Thick, coats the tounge. Little carbonation but not alot. Could imagine being very good on a nitro tap.

Very nice RIS. Would consider it as good as Old Rasputin, but for different reasons. Much more hop presence than OR, but not as sweet. Very good beer overall from a great up and coming brewery. (714 characters)

Photo of Mdog
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, big head.

Smell: Bitter chalky dark chocolate, smoky note.

Taste: Dark chocolate, mild bitterness. Bit of coffee, very well balanced.

Overall: Picked up a single to give this one a try. It's pretty good. I prefer my RIS to be a little sweeter than this, but it is well made and tasty. (306 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

thanks for the extra beer from hopazoid!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 2 fingers of frothy tan head. The head on the beer has really good staying power and leaves a coating lace on the side of the glass.

Smell: Roasty, milk chocolates/ lactose note, coffee creamer, fruity esters, anise, and a hint of leather.

Taste: starts off with an aggressive roasty earthy bitterness reminds me of a breakfast blend coffee thats has over the top earthy notes. Liquid smoke and some milk chocolates. The finish is moderately roasty and fruity with notes of black licorice and tobacco hiding in the back.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The beer is a little bit thin, but its nothing distracting. Not boozey at all; abv is well hidden.

Overall: Nice and enjoyable RIS. Nothing mindblowing, but I would not be scared to pick up more of this beer. Really nice offering from Brau Bros! (933 characters)

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter from a 12-ounce bottle.

A: Pours jet black with a thin tan head that quickly settles and forms a small ring around the edges. lacing runs down the side of the glass, although not very sticky.

S: Some dark fruit, coffee, and molasses up front, with a hint of anise. A touch of earthy hops lingers in the background.

T: Molasses, anise, and strong coffee notes, with some dark fruit on the mid-palate. Finish is rather hoppy with some piney and earthy undertones.

M: Body is a bit thin for the style, but tolerable. Moderate in body, with loads of flavor, and a long finish.

O: Another quality offering from Brau Brothers. Its only real weakness right now would be its mouthfeel, although I think it could benefit from some cellaring. Another good Minnesota offering and definitely worth trying. (821 characters)

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Ivan The Great from Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC
86 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.