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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 FARGO619
1.96/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark, just how I like them, but man what an awful beer. Good head retention. I was hoping for more.

S: Flat, and sticky. Syrup from mugginess would describe it.

T: This was gross. It was stale and tart with a dark sugarish musk that would not go away. It just got worse with every sip. I felt bad pouring it down the drain. For an IMP STOUT this was disappointing.

O: I'm hoping it was a bad batch. The price was good, but this one I am going to pass on.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
1.97/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a dark rich brown that looks close to black in the glass. Head is dark tan and creamy. Drops to a small bubbly cap and collar. Moderate carbonation on the pour. Some hints of deep red at the edges when held to direct light.

Smell: Cocoa and a ton of dark fruit. Cherry, fig, plum, and dark berry. Some dark chocolate with a solid punch of roasted malt. Vague hint of herbal and citrus hopping, but it's big and malty. Sharp snap of licorice. Slightly oxidized with some backing alcohol. Relatively standard if a bit big on the dark fruit.

Taste: Mildly roasted with a hint of cocoa. Some dark chocolate buried in there as well. A hint of citrus and herbal hop notes. Pushes dark cherry and various dark berries along with fig and plum. Deeply fruity. A touch of licorice. Oxidation pushes sherry and some phenols. A touch of alcohol heat on the back. Some burnt my edges with a caramelized sweetness. A ton of raisin, a ton.

Mouthfeel: Mediumish body with a moderate carbonation. Clean.

Overall: At this rate, news of winter will never arrive.

A rather unexciting stout. It's a raisin bomb. Missing some darker roasted malts and depth.

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Photo of pixieskid
2.02/5  rDev -46%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer been labeled an imperial brown ale or export stout, I would be inclined to give it a fair rating, but for a RIS I found this beer to be particularly awful.

Pours a dark brown color; with no head, even with a fierce pour.

Upfront is a strong note of sugary and brown malt with an overtone of raisins.

Slight milk chocolate note throughout, finishing with a slight bitterness.

Overall it tasted like flat rootbeer, it was overly sweet, lacked the typical notes, body, and richness of an RIS.

Given a large amount of reviews, I suppose this could have been a bad bottle.

Regardless, this was my last attempt to like this brewery and unfortunately I am writing them off after numerous disappointments.

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Photo of dbalsock
2.15/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

App: Tons of tan head sit upon this black as night brew. The head retention is great.

Smell: Very sweet aroma, with a hint of coffee , caramel and toffe. It's buttery for sure with no hop presence in the nose.

Taste: Fruity alcohol is the base for this beer, with too much coffee taking on the feel of an off-flavor. Tastes woody too, but not barrel aged.

Mouthfeel: Burnt bitter and acidic with a watery body. This beer definitely needs to mellow.

Drinkability: This needs to be creamier, and the off parts need to be taken away and replaced with more multi-dimensional characters.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.42/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Medium brown with a small amount of light brown head. Very light colour for a RIS.

S - Chocolate and coffee with some toasted nuts.

T - Some roasted malts, light notes of chocolate. Noticeable alcohol. Very light tasting compared to all other RIS I have had. Not very inviting. Tasted more like an imperial brown ale than an imperial stout.

M - Light to medium body. Moderately carbonated.

D - I drain poured most of this one. Gave it a chance and drank half of my glass but just couldn't get through this one.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
2.56/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Raven's Eye, bomber bought at Whole Foods Bowery for $6.99. Curious to try an "organic" Imperial Stout!

Appearance: Poured into my Sierra Anniversary snifter, the Raven appears customarily black with brown edges and a two-finger head that dies soon, leaving a chestnut-colored rim around the glass but barely any lacing.

Smell: The nose is bitter, raw, oxidized. Lots of barnyard and dirty farm. Milk shake left in the sun. Some cheap Ghirardelli chocolate crushed and thrown to a bunch of starving babies in Africa while you're vacationing and posing as a foreign-aid worker. Reminds me of an old, stale Stone 11th Anniversary Ale I had not too long ago.

Taste: Extreme coffee bitterness is all I get, plus some creamy milk and cheap chocolate. Like drinking cold burnt-ass Starbucks coffee and trying to wash it off with squares of Russell Stover. Booze and heat at the end. I wonder whether this bottle was wrong? Most reviewers didn't get any bitterness, and I do not get any dark-fruit aromas or vanilla. Curious...

Mouthfeel: The bitterness is overwhelming and unpleasant. It attacks and bites. Also, that expired-milk taste that comes after it doesn't help... This thing feel likes sucking the udder of an emaciated Ethiopian cow trying to get any of the spoiled, sour milk out of it just to survive. Not nice.

Overall: I can't get past the taste/smell/feel of rotten milk, dirty farm and saggy old cow tits. This ain't right, organic or not! Good thing is- I poured some Elijah Craig 12-year-old Kentucky Bourbon on this messy brew and it magically transformed itself into a respectable, woodsy barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Cheers!

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Photo of kjlued
2.67/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is the furthest thing from what I know a stout to be.
though it is not a bad beer, it not only looks like a cloudy pepsi when you pour it, the fizzing makes it sound like one too.

I told myself not to buy it, as I usually find organic beers to be less favorable but I wanted to keep an open mind.

Like I said, it is not a bad beer, just do not open it and expect a real stout. This beer probably would have gotten a better rating if it was not expecting an Imperial Stout.

Need to add an edit because this is a beer that gets worse with each sip. Not a sink dumper, but will never buy it again and most likely will never buy another beer from this brewery.

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Photo of magictrokini
2.75/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Infinitely dissatisfied with this one. Poured clear black with red edges. I say clear because you could see through it to some degree. Minimal lacing, short, bubbly tan head. Flat, musty caramel and malt aroma, some coffee, and thin cocoa powder. Taste was watery and weak. Some coffee and chocolate materialized as the beer got very warm, but before that, this was a grainy, soupy, earthy malt beverage. A bit astringent at the end. Imperial Stout? I think not.

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.82/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1 pint 6 oz bottle. Into the tulip.

A: Pours deep dark black with a little bit of crimson highlights. Dark tan head, not caramel colored like a typical good RIS... frowny face. Heads up nicely if its any consellation..

S: The smell is a little redeeming. It's got a nice creamy, smoky aroma. Hints of chocolate, very mild coffee or expresso notes, and roasted malts. Vague fruits if at all.

T: I don't find this to be a very good Imperial...it's more along the lines of an American Stout, a la Sierra Nevada Stout (though still not as good). Theres malts, a little chocolate. Very dissappointed in the lack of coffee notes upon taste. Smells smokier and more burnt than it tastes.

M: Probably the most dissapointing part of this beer is how thin it is. Though it is heavier than your average beer or even porter, this should be so much thicker and richer. Theres no chewyness at all really and the flavors don't burst out at you as you swill.

D: Some peaple might take the thinness of this and call it uber drinkable... it's just not the case. 1 of these is plenty, and only because of quality concerns.

Notes: Theres so many better offerings of this style. Obviously the "certified organic" tagging doesn't save this beer. And, being as most all good beer is made from natural, supposed not in-organic ingrediants, why isn't all beer organic? I think beer should be a given if you ask me, "certification" not required....

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.85/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into pint glasses and split with a friend.

A: Very, very dark brown. Impenetrable when held up to the light.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits.

T: Dark chocolate dominates with the coffee and dark fruit lagging behind. Malts pick up a bit later. A little booze warmth.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation and complexity, but it's boozy.

D: Slight difficulty downing it toward the end; it was almost a little TOO much, even split. Perhaps I drank it too fast. I'd certainly be willing to buy it again to see.

Highly recommended. What a damn good stout.

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Photo of Crosling
2.88/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from Liquid Solutions. Pours brown out of the bottle but appears dark in the glass. Fairly nice light brown head. Very miniscule nose. I’m comparing this next to Bristol XXX Warlock and the Warlock is powerfully aromatic. This has hardly any aroma at all. Flavor isn’t much better. A light hint of malt-o-meal, dried chocolate. Not very complex, not hoppy and not nearly roasty enough. Meh, very mediocre.

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Photo of QuentinCompson
2.89/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into Duvel Green tulip

A - Nice 3.5 finger head, opaque brew, looks thick and chewy, though appearance is a bit deceiving

S - Slightly weird aroma, like Log Cabin poured over a bunch of old crushed up Peppermint Patties, oatmeal; the minty aroma smells slightly medicinal

T-M - Taste is a lot like the aroma, w/ some roasted barley, and the brew itself, mouthfeelwise shows itself to actually be quite thin; pepperminty, slightly aluminum hints at the edges

D - This wasnt terrible, but just wasnt that enjoyable. I love Imperial Stouts, but the weird minty, medicinal flavors just didnt do it for me here; also a bit thin for my taste.

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Photo of DontTreadOnMike
2.9/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, almost black, with reddish tones. Quite foamy if you’re not careful. Large cream colored head.

Very sweet. Caramel and chocolate maltiness. Not very strong aroma but I can tell this is going to be big. Very malty, no hops detected at all.

Velvet silkiness. Very smooth and thick but not sticky. No bite at all; I don’t know if that’s good or bad in most people’s eyes but for a thick Imperial Stout, that’s just the way I like it.

My first impressions went like this:
“Hmm. This is kind of boring. I’ll hold it in my mouth for a while to see what I can detect…….not a whole lot is changing.”

After I swallow….

“Wow! Excellent coffee after taste! Very good finish!”

After a few more sips my impressions mellowed out again. It’s not very complex. Apart from the surprise ending, there isn’t much to this brew at all. It’s very malty and that’s good but it didn’t change much. It’s not very strong, there’s almost no hint of alcohol or hop flavors; it’s just…sweet.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a BAD beer. Not at all. In fact I’ll probably buy it again. It’s very drinkable, especially for an Imperial Stout. But that’s sort of the problem, I could gulp this thing down if I wanted to. When I buy an IMPERIAL Stout I want it to make me wince a little bit. I want to have to sip it slowly and think about the way the complex flavors are changing in my mouth. This beer looks, smells, and feels excellent. But the flavor is just a little boring for an Imperial Stout. Like I said, I’ll definitely buy this again but it’s not going in my list of favorites.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle purchased from Sam's in Durham for 2.99. Low expectations for this, but for the price worth a shot. Served in a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown, red tinged color that settles in a very still black. Finger thick tan head, moderate retention and sticky thick coating on lacing.
S: Overall mild, slightly too sweet in a cough syrup way. Dark fruit, roasted flavors, malt all present. Not bad, but not very interesting or bold.
T: Slightly thin mouthfeel for this style, but still syrup like and smooth, very light carbonation. Most of the flavor is dark fruit (but not overly sweet) with a thin malt presence. Surprising hop presence. Roasted and chocolate like flavors are very subdued. Alcohol isn't that strong in taste but finish has a strong burn really hurting the drinkability of this.

Overall, not a terrible RIS, I'd call it average, but the alcohol presence is unpleasant and what's keeping me from having this again even at this price.

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Photo of jletts
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Eel River Raven's Eye Imperial Stout

Purchased a 22 at Billy Goat's Tavern in Mt. Shasta, California. Served at approximately cellar temperature in a standard red wine glass. Appeared black with a nice, slowly fading head and some scattered uneven lacing. Smelled of double chocolate brownies with weak notes of vanilla and hazelnuts. The taste centered on baker's chocolate, coffee, and oak, with a sour bitterness emerging at the end. This Imperial Stout seemed a little uncomplicated compared to many of the Imperial Stouts coming out of the US lately. Perhaps some cellar time would add more depth.

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Photo of ccrida
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into my Hommel snifter, Ravens Eye Imperial Stout is pitch black, with a large, dark tan head that's quickly halved, before slowing settles to a thick collar and moderate skim, leaving moderate lace.

Smell is pretty soft, some sweet caramel and grassy hops.

Taste is semi-sweet, a bit boozy, more burnt then roasty, and fairly bitter, but overall lacking depth and not too exciting. Perhaps some of the espresso mentioned on the label (which I don't drink, but love coffee, and didn't find), but I've gotta call BS on a bomber being "Nitrogen Conditioned" without a widget. Ehh - average.

Mouthfeel is, well, certainly not "Nitrogen Conditioned" (which I don't care for anyways), but somewhat slick and a bit watery.

Drinkability is ok, the bitterness slowed me down, and it's not too memorable at this point, but I've got another in the cellar, so lets see what a year or two does for it...
Served at cellar temp (55F).

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown with little light getting in. Fizzy sounding head has little retention or lace.
Smell fresh from the icebox is mostly wet cardboard. Some very light notes of malt, roast and hop.
Taste is more involving with notes of roasted malt, dark fruits, smoke, coffee, molasses and whiskey.
Flavor is rich but body is just medium, somewhat watery, with a fairly high amount of carbonation. Dry finish and slightly warming. A decen beer but there are many better imperial stouts. Is it just me or are the certified organic beers just not hitting the marks the non-certified beers are hitting?

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Photo of BabyRoh
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

My first experience with Eel River. Not very impressed. This is the first RIS that I have ever been able to see through, and that's a full 16 oz. Tulip glass. The flavor is the best part of this beer, but there just isn't enough of it. The thin body makes me think that lack of adequate malt is the issue here. Either that or no flaked barley. My local beerstore has decided to carry numerous beers by Eel River, so I'm sure ill try another one, but I wouldn't buy this again.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My second chance at trying something from this brewery and now I'm a little bit worried. I tried the Triple Exultation, which I mostly liked given the style. The first whiff of this Raven's Eye stout reminded me entirely too much of that last beer. A scent of port wine that was acceptable coming from an old ale style beer (which the other beer was) isn't quite as acceptable coming from a Russian Imperial stout. Overly fermented sweet scents, gushy ripe fruit. Overtly sugary cola with some brown ale characteristics in there. This drinks more like an imperial brown ale to me than a stout. This lacks a depth and an over all flavor profile that I hope to experience when I read "stout" on a label.
Not quite a drain pour though the port wine character is getting to me after a little bit. Maybe, even, if this was labeled as a smoked old ale I'd score this higher. As it stands, I'd say if you want a Russian imperial stout, look elsewhere.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours very dark--near black--into my pint glass. The two-finger, dark-tan head is thick and foamy, and is retained for a good while. Alcohol is certainly present in the aroma; dark malts, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate are there as well. Not knowing this was in the "Russian Imperial Stout" style category, I was expecting more of an American Stout, only with a little more body and alcohol. My initial impression was of a nice, dark stout with a slightly sweet front and an surprisingly bitter finish. What I realized upon a deeper taste was more interesting. There are characteristics of roasted malts, dark South American coffee, and dark cacao here. The front is certainly sweeter than the rest of the flavor and betrays flavors of dark, ripe fruits. This sweetness mellows very quickly, and the finish is quite hoppier than I expected. The texture changes over time as well: in the earliest stage, this one is thick and creamy, but it becomes lean at the finish.

It's not as "big" as many of the Russian Imperial Stouts I've tasted; it's simply not as sweet. So what?! It's a very good brew. This and Eel River's Triple Exultation would be enough to satisfy the most discerning beer drinker's palate for some time. Enjoy!

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Photo of cjgator3
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brownish black color with a nice light tan colored head with good retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is roasted malts and cocoa. I like the aroma, it is just a little tame for the style. Wish it was a little more pronounced.

T- The taste is dark roasted malts, a lot of cocoa and some coffee flavors as well with a noticeable warmth from the alcohol.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, not a bad Imperial Stout but it just isn't up with the elite beers within the style. Worth a try, but I don't think I would buy again.

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Photo of arizcards
3.17/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine on New Years Eve for $6.99.

Beer poured dark brown with no head to speak of.

Nose is of roasted malts and dark fruits. There is a medicinal quality in the background.

Taste is roasted malts and dark fruits, seems a bit flat.

Mouthfeel is light for the style, but it is very smooth.

Overall this is an OK beer, a little uneven, but not a drain pour. Not sure if I will try this again.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
3.19/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Extremely dark rosy-brown in the glass with crimson edges where the light easily penetrates through the liquid. The tan crown is barely 1 inch tall, even after a vigorous pour and is much looser & soapier in its appearance than I would expect from a RIS. It showed only average retention before sinking to a paper-thin halo while leaving only specks of lacing that didn't hang around very long. Looks very underwhelming for a RIS.

A: Roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, citrusy notes, and some molasses. Smells much better than it looks, that's for sure.

T: Starts much more roasty upfront with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, molasses, licorice, and some fig/plum type of dark fruit presence. Then, seems to become much more bitter on back end from slightly burnt malts, citric hop bitterness, a hint of charcoal, and a musty earthiness that leaves a nasty, astringent aftertaste. Upfront, the beer is okay. But the back half of the mouthful is too burnt, abrasive, and bitter for my personal preference. However, it does get better once it's warm. Still, not real impressed with this one.

M: Raven's Eye Imperial Stout features a mouthfeel that seems more fit for a porter than a Russian Imperial Stout. It's medium-full bodied and seems almost a tad watery in spots. Its got a moderate amount of carbonation that prickles the back of the tongue a bit with some slight creaminess that develops if you swirl it around in your mouth for long enough. But, it offers nothing in the way of silky smoothness or chewiness whatsoever.

Notes: Well, after being hesitant to try any of Eel River's offerings after being hugely disappointed with their Organic Porter, I was hoping that they could redeem themselves with this stab at a Russian Imperial Stout. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It's not horrible, but not great by any stretch of the imagination, either. Just like the Organic Porter, the flavor just isn't up to par and the mouthfeel is waaay off and needs to be beefed up considerably. Not recommended

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Photo of jrallen34
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer pours a super light brown, as it pours doesn't even look black, just brown. Light carbonation, a light tan head that rises about less than a finger and gone right away. No lacing.

The aroma is super light, gives off non ris notes of mostly caramel and dark fruits with the lighest whisp of coffee.

The taste is pretty blah, not a whole lot going on until the fiish where there is a little coffee, but its just really light and boring.

The feel is super light and the drinkability is limited just because so many options.

Overall, this is a ris to avoid. This is an organic of avoid, nothing special at all here.

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Photo of WJVII
3.21/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 1/2 pint bottle this brew has a dark molasses color with a overly thick head that settled from the bottom up. There is no lacing to speak of despite the high ABV. The nose is light and has some hints of chocolate and coffee. A mild nuttiness is present as well. The taste is a little thin for the style. There is noticeable alcohol in the taste. Coffee and roasted malt are in the finish of this brew. Not too impressed with this. I enjoy the style however this brew is not as complex as similar imperials I have tried. Not sure if the "organic" nature takes anything away. For the cost not worth it (at $6.99 a bottle).

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