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Raven's Eye Imperial Stout - Eel River Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Raven's Eye Imperial StoutRaven's Eye Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

187 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 187
Hads: 312
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 16.31%
Wants: 13
Gots: 30 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beerguy101 on 08-12-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 187 | Hads: 312
Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

04/23/07- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. $5.99 at Ledger's.
Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep black in color. Maybe a reddish hue when tilted towards the side on top. 1/2 inch brown semi-creamy head. Leaves behinds some streaks and trails of lacing.

Smell- Fairly heavy and rich mildly burnt malt with notes of chocolate, coffee, maybe some dark fruits and dirt (earthy).

Taste- WOW! This is one incredible tasting stout. Huge chocolate and esresso flavors meld wonerfully together. Maybe some chocolate covered dark berries play and frolic in your mouth as well. A tad smoky, but not a real burnt taste. A lovely sweet texture as well.

Mouthfeel- Truly creamy due to the fact that it was nitrogenated according to the bottle. Rich, velvety and lighter carbonated. Sweet, but not too sticky. About perfect.

Drinkability- You can feel the hefty alcohol hit a bit more than I'd like, but otherwise it's damn top notch. By FAR the best beer from Eel River I have ever had and maybe a top 10 all time of any beer for me. Have to track down a bunch more of these. Look out Stone RIS and Speedway...you've got company.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.73/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This rating is from a 22 oz bottle purchased directly from the brewpub. Poured in Duvel glass at 55 degrees it was jet black with a huge tan head that left heavy lacing. Nose is very powerful, and is of chocolate and coffee with a llittle vanilla. Mouthfeel very rich and creamy. In fact almost oily. Rich flavor of dark malts, chocolate, coffee, and fruits. Finish is nicely bitter. Hides the alcohol very well. This is an outstanding Imperial Stout. What is interesting is that the bottle was better than the draft. Two reasons. First they serve their draft too cold for this type of beer. Second, it seems brewpubs always try to give you your money's worth and so fill the glass to the brim leaving little head, and that diminishes the appearance.

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Photo of Mighty_Miguelito
4.66/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark with small head. The aroma hints of hops, but the taste is dark and malty. Great feel in the mouth, complex changing aftertaste and lovely warming to more malt rather than hop. Solid stout, should be rated higher in my estimation.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.62/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew is from jgaston as part of the BIF race 2008. Thanks man!
I am pouring at cellar temp into a snifter. the beer pours a deep espresso brown with fizzy tan head of 1 cm foaming up and fading to a thin edge layer very rapidly.
Aroma is drak fruit, molasses, burnt malt, and hints of baker's chocolate. Nice appealing nose, with no hint of hops of booze to be found.
First sip reveals a fairly thick body with fine tingly carbonation and soft silky texture. Nice so far.
Flavor starts off with some sweet chocolate and brown sugar, then rolls to burnt roasty malt with bits of molasses again and finishes with some dry baker's chocolate, or very dark high % cacao. Slightly bitter, but not from hops. No real ABV presence and I find the beer to probably be dangerously drinkable.
A very nice Imp Stout that is even cooler since it is organic. I would gladly consume this beer again.

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Photo of Smurf2055
4.52/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a finger or two of tan head. Big bubbles.

Rich chocolate and coffee flavors. Really powerful smell too. Rich.

Very strong coffee flavor. Creamy. Rich and flavorful. Bit of a bitter finish. Masks the alcohol.

Great beer. Great price and availability, was really glad I got to try it. Super under rated Imperial stout that hangs with the best of them.

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Photo of ericj551
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's nice too see organic beers go outside the norm a bit. Raven's eye pours an inky black with a nice brown head. The aroma is dominated by chocolate with some roasted characteristics and a bit of grassy, damp hops. More chocolate and roasted in the flavor, with enough milky, creamy sweetness to balance out the astringency. There is some alcohol in the finish, but the beer goes down smooth and the big flavors only hint at the 9.5% abv.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a typical pitch black with a half finger dark tan head that melts very quickly to a ring of sticky tan lacing.
Aroma is a mild coffee and chocolate mix.
Mouthfeel is creamy, thick and rich.
Taste is again a typical IS espresso and dark bitter chocolate with a nice malt sweetness balancing the bitterness of espresso coffee and bittersweet chocolate.
Aftertaste is mostly the bittersweet chocolate with a nice alcohol warming.
Not a spectacular Imperial Stout, but not bad by any means.
This one is very balanced with no surprises and no disappointments.
An excellent 'go to' Imperial Stout if it is available to you.
Thanks to beautiful kolohoe for this bottle (and another to cellar..woo hoo!)

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Photo of eddiebo
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: pours a large creamy head which takes several minutes to dissipate, leaving some lacing at different points all the way down the glass (drank a bomber in about 45 mins) deep brown almost purplish color to the body
S: coffee and jam-like scents with some chicory notes
T: not overly hoppy and no bitter bite on the finish, not sweet either, a subtle balance of roasted, jam, chocolate, and chicory notes, full flavored without being overbearing
F: a fairly luxurious and creamy mouthfeel - similar to an oatmeal stout but with some porter-like carbonation on top
D: could have easily gone for bomber #2, and this packs a whallop - a very drinkable and enjoyable stout worth seeking out and trying. I am have been impressed with each Eel River offering that I have sampled so far, they are definitely at the forefront of organic brewing.

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4.36/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A creamy three finger rich milk chocolate colored head quickly shows scattered lace and a rocky landscape. Body is a pitch black brooding host to darkness. Nose is a nice mix of smokey rich maltiness and sweet coco tones. Enters the mouth sweet and smokey with attractive layers of carmalized malt, burnt toffee and even a bit of coffee on the back of the tongue. The coffee feel is a slight bitter laced with a even sour feel. There is a solid balance between the sweet, rich, bitter and sour throughout this beer. The alchol is elegantly well hidden as it only shows in the form of a warm tummy. Mouthfeel is similar to dark chocolate. Super drinkable brew I would like to have again.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Eel River- Raven's Eye

A- Deep murcky brown almost black with a thick creamy head.
S- Light chocolate dusted sweet coffee beans.
T- A big scoop of sweet vanilla bean ice cream and smooth milk chocolate dropped into a medium roast cup of light and sweet coffee.
M- Creamy and sweet, big flavors and a smooth finish.

Overall- A mighty tasty beverage! 9.5% abv but hidden well. A solid bomber that I'm glad made its way to the East Coast!

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Photo of Vancoubeer
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a bottle tonight. I have been looking at this one for some time. I have no idea how old it is but at the near by beer cave these puppies have been sitting on a bottom shelf for over a year. Which is nice due to the 9.5% this should age well. Pouring out of the bottle the liquid is a dark brown and as it settles into the glass it becomes black as night with barely a hint of light causing a brownish ring around the top once the khaki thin head, about half a finger deep (I did not tip my glass) after a straight pour into the glass. The smell was expected. A deep roastyness mixed with what seemed to be almost like a sweet dark fruit mixed with dark chocolate. Very nice. At first sip it was stout bitterness mixed with the roasted malt and that dark bitter cooking chocolate like taste. Excellent. It appears to be very smooth. No alcohol whats so ever in the taste. This has aged well and its obvious that this is not fresh but in a good way. What a steal I got here. The mouthfeel is full bodied. Its thick yet dry to the finish. This has to be one of my top 10 stouts of all time from America. I was quite impressed with this and overall I have to say this is one I will buy again. Its really good and for my options in the Portland, Oregon beer scene that says a lot.

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Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, w/o vintage/freshness/bottling data, c'mon guys doesn't this style deserve some sort of consumer info? Anyway, this one pours dark dark mahogany, very dark tan head, tightly knit showing better then average retention, and moderate scattered lace. Rich burnt malty, chocolaty, raisin nose. Full flavor RIS, lots of chocolate, black coffee, figs, raisins, gooey brownies. Yummy stuff, nice cold weather sipper, or would be great with a rich dessert or perhaps with some robust BBQ. Perhaps a bit thin in the mouth feel to qualify as a world class offering, but this one did not disappoint. Stout lovers, go get some and enjoy.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recently split a bottle of this with a buddy at the Grapevine in Fort Mill, SC.

Pours a dense black with a 1/2 finger of burnt mocha colored head. Retains very well, leaving rich looking lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is Wow! Thick chocolate and caramel notes that remind me of sticking a Tootsie Roll up my nose. Underneath, I also pick up some roasted malts, coffee, and smidge of heat.

The notes from the aroma carry over to the taste with thick chocolate and caramel dominating and some coffee and dark fruit character mixed in for good measure. There is also a nice amount of roasted and hop bitterness that really helps balance all of that sticky sweetness out. Mouthfeel seems just a tad light with a medium to full feel. Carbonation is creamy and feels right on and there is a bit of heat presence but it helps add some much needed beefiness to the body.

This guy really took me by surprise, as this was my first beer from Eel River. Lots of rich, RIS flavor packaged up in a fairly easy drinking body. And it's organic too. I'm sold! I definitley would not hesitate to dive into another bottle of this again.

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Photo of RootedFool
4.31/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought a pint of this at the brewery.

Pours an impervious black with a chocolate milk head.

Smell is of burnt chocolate, coffee, and subtle malts in the background.

Taste and mouthfeel:

hop bitterness leads the way, followed by burnt chocolate, coffee, and a very nice alcohol warmth throughout my throat and stomach; but not over-powering. Mouthfeel is creamy, as expected.

Loved it!

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours deep dark brown under a 1” tan foam collar that lasts 2.5 minutes.

S: Coffee, fruit, dark malts, prune, a little wine, malt aromas medium to medium high, hop aromas medium low, yeast aromas medium.

T: Starts with a coffee chocolate palate with a light tartness, dark fruit, dark malts with a little wine character and alcohol. The balance is between the malt, alcohol and fruit. The malt is medium high, the yeast character medium and the hop character is medium low. No harsh burnt or roast flavors.

F: Very creamy and silky with a medium full body, medium to medium low fine soft carbonation. Moderately warming. Nothing astringent.

O: Almost like drinking a cold, lightly carbonated creamy chocolate coffee with a moderate dark chocolate bitterness.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this bottle for a year or two, tonight she beckoned to me.
This one pours a solid black with a smallish tan head that dissipates quickly. Chocolate syrup, candied caramel, and a touch of alcohol dominate the aroma. Some rosted malts come through as she warms, but it is faint. Luscious and creamy mouthfeel bring out the milk chocolate very well in this one. It's almost like sipping on a thick chocolate milk. Slight alcohol midstream with a slightly roasty, dark dried fruit finish. Carbonation is low but ample, body is thick. I really enjoyed this one, its very tasty. I thought it lacked some roasted flavors that I usually associate with an Imp Stout, but I could enjoy this beer often if given the chance.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a recommended organic brew, well worth the money and one of the best stouts I've ever had.

Poured a dark black with about 2 fingers of rocky tan head.

Smells of dark chocolate, brown sugar, and malt. A faint scent of caramel is also present. Nice.

Taste is very nice, bitter and smooth, with flavors of dark chocolate, brown sugar, molasses. Very thick with roasted malt and bitter creaminess.

Mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is superb, right where it should be for this, and the balance is outstanding.

Drinkability here is good. This and Stone's Russian Imperial are my go-to's for stouts and this one holds a special place in my heart. I would have never known that this was organic or not, but considering that its this good and it is..well..high praises.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review # 300

Pours an opaque darkness with a full finger dark tan head that resists fading. Nice sheets of lacing in its wake. The smell is a combination of chocolate, roast malt and coffee over an element of liquor. Full bodied, the mouth feel is creamy and smooth with an expressive vanilla bourbon charm. The flavor is similar; a light roast malt and chocolate with a taste of warming bourbon. The apparent intoxicant permits a lingering spiciness. That means "I like this one...a lot". Join me. Thank you drunkmonk for the opportunity.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Corsendonk 0.33L tulip.

Great looking pour on this RIS, as it fills the glass with a thick, motor-oil viscosity, building a well-retained, molasses-colored head. Great-smelling aroma too: powdered cocoa, cookie dough, roasted coffee beans, vanilla-infused espresso, and a kiss of liqour.

Bitter, roasted coffee-malts hit the tastebuds first, followed by notes of dark chocolate and a warming, boozy finish. Mouthfeel is creamy & thick up front, but turns quickly to a sharp bitter/ascerbic aftertaste that is both enjoyable and memorable. All in all, I was quite impressed with this, my first Eel River brew. Russian Imperials, especially from lesser-known breweries, do not always perform up to par, but this beer easily makes eagle (or would it be "Raven"?). Corniness aside, this is an extremely well-crafted brew and I look forward to my bottle of ER Triple Exultation.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured up thick and inky black with a medium brown one finger head that faded away into an eighth of an inch or so of frost atop the surface. Looks like what I expect a good RIS to look like. Smell is rich and chocolatey with a little bit of booze, but not too bad. Taste was a delicious blend of chocolatey dark malts with raisins and whiskey. There's also a faint taste of burnt molasses. The 9.5% is certainly every bit there, and while it is a bit strong, it's still very manageable and pleasantly whiskey-like. Mouthfeel was solid and heavy, as to be expected in a stout such as this. Delicately, pleasantly carbonated. Very well crafted and in spite of a high abv, very drinkable if you also enjoy fine bourbons. A very solid stout, for sure.
*Note* I also ate a Hershey chocolate bar with this toward the end just to see how well the two pair with one another. This beer goes very well in my opinion with chocolate.

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Photo of acrawf6
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black with just a little light coming out in the edges of the glass with a tan head and nice lacing.

Smell. IT is a subtle aroma that is not potent. Coffee is a dominant characteristic with some dark and bitter chocolate. Under that is just a touch of licorice.

Taste. There is a heavy roasted malt flavor to this, and a touch of burnt to it as well. Quick tastes of black coffee come, but diminish quickly, as well as the dark chocolate flavor. I think the beer sweetens as it warms in my mouth. Aftertaste is when i get a small kick of the alcohol, and a touch of the licorice kicks up, but not too much.

Mouthfeel. Body is full, but i cant decide if it is on the creamy side or slick side. I guess it is creamy b/c it is an imp stout, but slick for being one. Carbonation is at a proper level. Balance seems nice with the malts and hops coming through nicely.

Overall, I like this stout. Not my favorite, but is not one of two that i can get on a somewhat normal basis (old rasputin is the other). I like the subtleness of this beer- flavor is potent, but still mild and very drinkable. I will happily get this again, though i dont think it competes with the top ones in the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Darkest mahogany with a sliver of dark gold along the bottom edge of the glass. I planned to use the word 'raven' in the description, but the beer isn't black so much as extremely dark brown. The good-sized crown is the color of golden brown sugar and is lightly creamy. By the way, how the hell can a bottled beer (without a widget) be 'nitrogen conditioned'?

Eel River has flat-out nailed the nose, just like they've nailed the appearance. Raven's Eye is hugely roasted, with all the olfactory goodies that implies. Melted bittersweet chocolate and blackstrap molasses are slightly more prominent than black coffee. This sucker is going to be delicious, there's no doubt about it.

It may not be as big, as burly or as darkly pungent as the best American-brewed RISs, but this is unquestionably a wonderful version. One mouthful is all it takes to tell me that these guys have talent, so it's all the more surprising that the rest of their lineup (those that I've had) is... uh... less than stellar.

The flavor profile mirrors the nose, with a few additions. I'm now enjoying black licorice and a surprisingly amount of citric and pine-soaked hoppiness. I guess it shouldn't be so surprising that a California brewery has a thing for the little green cones. There are no flaws in terms of the amount and the quality of the well-roasted flavor.

Even though it's coming together more as it warms, the mouthfeel isn't quite plushcious enough to earn the big score. It's supremely smooth, however, and is a joy to drink. I'll use the drinkability score to reflect the fact that the previous two attributes are a fraction more impressive than their scores would indicate. Nitrogen conditioning? I'm still not buying it.

Having had four Eel River offerings prior to today, it's hard to believe that Raven's Eye Imperial Stout hails from the same brewery. It's an excellent RIS that impresses in any number of ways. I think I'll finish the bomber and then find a soft place to land.

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours chocolate brown. Mostly opaque. Head is cappuccino colored.

S: smells a little like licorice.

T: fantastic taste. Hint of black licorice. Extremely smooth. Reminds me of little chocolate licorice bars. Can't remember what they were called...

M: great feel that you want to let sit in your mouth.

O: I enjoyed this beer a lot. Eel river is a brewery I've only recently learned about and everything they do seems to be really good. I love black licorice, so that is part of it. I want to go get another!

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Photo of beerguy101
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color, creamy head. A full-bodied nitrogen-conditioned Russian Imperial Stout. Deeply roasted malts. Nice hop balance. Chocolate and coffee flavor. Very smooth taste, Nice flavor. Big and expansive. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and very smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. No alcohol bite despite a 9.5%. Excellent stout.

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Photo of babaracas
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber, brown-black w/ reddish brown edges. Tan head which fades to thin layer, fairly thick lacing. Smell: chocolate, roasted, black malt, a whiff of hops, raisin, and alcohol. Smell: sweet, dark fruit upfront, chocolate and alcohol and slight toffee. Good amount of citric and spicy hops blended in as well. The alcohol is fairly upfront, but at 9.5 it's not overly boozy. Mouthfeel: almost nitro smooth but maybe a bit thin, medium bodied and not so syrupy. Good RIS and inexpensive to boot.

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Raven's Eye Imperial Stout from Eel River Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.