Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select 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 →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 187 | Hads: 312
Photo of tavernjef
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark root beer color and settles nearly black with a slight cast of very deep mahogany to it. Fluffy tan cap of foam sits about a finger high and swiftly resides to a partial skim and a slim collar. Lacing in some huge sheets and a few spots trying to connect across.

Aroma is hardly evident of anything Imperial as it comes across mostly dry and bittersweet with mild raisin. Smells quite light overall with milk chocolate and graham cracker notes, and there's some slightly roasted heat that shows its 9.5%.

Taste is slender and rounded with a fair amount of chocolate covered raisins soaked in rum. Roasty, toasty, firm, heated, dryish, cherry hints and more soft, airy, boozy chocolate to loft into the finish as it cinders in a warm coating across the throat and gullet.

Feel is about medium with a large warming heart of smooth, soft, airy chocolate and booze.

Its not all that big, but it'll do. Its well made, wholesome, warm, and the whole organic thing is unique to it. Perhaps a punch more of length, body, and complexity this would be more of what I come to like out of an RIS.

 1,102 characters

Photo of pintOast
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 22oz bottle for $3.79. I like the organic element. It's tough to find organic brew that cheap, so... immediately I thought there had to be something wrong with it. Well, I know this beer received some pretty harsh reviews BUT I gotta say it was worth the purchase for me. Maybe I got a fresh bottle or something. Many of the bad reviews I noticed were advocates far away from Cali and I'm wondering if they got some bad bottles. I'd be interested to taste their beers fresh out of the tap. I really didn't think this imperial stout was that bad. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it. Did I enjoy it because I was nearly drunk by the end of it? I don't know, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

A - typical stout color - deep dark brown; foam 2 inches with initial pour but lacked thickness and settled down quickly
S - faint smell of chocolate, coffee, prune and tinge of alcohol; overall aroma was a little weak
T - lacking a little body but no harsh finish; did not taste watered down; the alcohol was not totally apparent, which surprised
M - could be a little silkier/creamier but nothing bad stood out
O - this is a solid brew; not an award winner but priced right and surprisingly easy to put down at 9+ abv.

 1,216 characters

Photo of micahgoldfus
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured a black/dark-brown color, a slight, tanned-color head bubbled up and fizzled away quickly. The smell was a little sweet and chocolately, a little bit of the savory, roasted malt smell, and a little touch of hops. Taste was good, and similarly balanced as the smell. There was some sweetness up front, like milk chocolate and molassass. Therethere was the gritty ground coffee flavor, mixed with smokey, roasted malts. Finally, in the end, there was a light, bitter kick of hops (and maybe some of the alcohol, although overall is was well hidden). Mouthfeel was a bit of a dissapointment, there was a bit too much carbonation, and the beer was a bit runnier than I was hoping for. A good beer, I enjoyed it, taste was solid, but I think this was a one-and-done for me, probably because of the mouthfeel.

 810 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a 1/2" tan head that fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm chocolate and black malt scent that also has some burnt toffee overtones. The taste is decent. It has a thin black malt and burnt toffee taste that goes down very well and finishes warm and bitter. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium/full bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a pretty drinkiable RIS. It's quite thin for the style and the carbonation needs some adjustment.

 520 characters

Photo of cbl2
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3/9/2008 $6.95 22 oz. 9.50% No best by date.


Pours a dark brown bordering on black with a quarter inch of creamy brown head drifting atop for the moment it takes to settle.


Nice roasted malts and coffee aroma with sweet dark chocolate.


Thin mouthfeel for an RIS. Loads of coffee flavor and dark chocolate upon aeration. This gets better as it warms, though doesn't approach the flavor intensity of an RIS. Seems more like a porter than an RIS. Not as complex as it should be, though still enjoyable. Certified organic.

 563 characters

Photo of ryanonline
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color very cloudy with a thick tan head little lacing.

Sort of a fruity, maybe pineapple, undertones but otherwise typical coffee scent. Maybe some anise. This is somewhere between typical scent and unexpected for the style.

Taste is coffee and dark chocolate but still an odd sort of fruity citrus scent.

Thin mouthfeel with a light but prickly mouthfeel and a sweet finish.

Moderate drinkability but sort of odd.

Weird stout.

 443 characters

Photo of njmoons
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

More interesting than anything and seemed more like a Porter to me.

Appearance: Dark black, with a nice dark head of foam. Looked tasty.

Smell: Had the traditional RIS aroma, heavy fruit, molasses, caramels. There was more hop aroma that I typically would expect.

Taste: The initial impression was that it was thin for RIS, then flavors of molassis and cherry/plum fruitiness with some unexpected smokey flavors as well. The finish is dominated with Washington State Hops (Cascades?) which are not my favorite, but under control here, so it did not ruin the beer for me. This seemed more a good Porter to me.

Mouthfeel was too thin for an RIS

Drinkability was about average. A good beer to enjoy slowly.

 710 characters

Photo of mountdew1
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass.
Color was a dark brown that was mostly opaque. Head was 1 finger, light brown. It clung to the sides just a bit, but clung together well.
Aroma was strongly of slightly bitter dark chocolate. Was noticeable from feet away.
Flavor was slightly milky, but overwhelmed by a sour flavor.
Felt a little watery in the mouth at times, but finished up filling the mouth.
The sour flavor was not at all what I would expect from a RIS. Outside of that, it was pleasantly drinkable, but the flavor knocked it down a bit.

 545 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, with plenty of reddishness bleeding through...clean, cocoa tan head standihng tall above.

Roasted bittersweet nose...dry and toasty...nice...

Taste: more of the same,plus some cocoa rising up ...roastytoasty chocolatey. But rather tame for the style.
Body's a bit too passive for my taste. Way too thin to be considered a good RIS, but not bad for an average stout.
It's nearly 10% abv, but it's nowhere as thick, chewy, and full bodied as the style demands.

Should we have lower expectations when it comes to the taste of organic beers? I hope not.
This just doesn't get me what I expect/and/or/desire from an Imperial Stout.

 645 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure I can consider this an Imperial stout. The beer pours a very dark mahogany with some light shining through. The head is vigorous and thick, and lacing is minimal. The smell is decent. Dried fruits, some caramel and chocolate, and very malty. Taste is more that of an old ale than an imperial stout. Sweet, with hints of fig and rasin, with a bit of caramel and spice. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but still enough to coat the palate. Drinkability is there, but I am dissappointed in the brewery for calling this beer an imperial stout. It doesn't even come close to being a stout, in my opinion. I would have classified this an old ale, while Triple Exultation would have been considered an American Barleywine. It's a decent beer, but wrongly named.

 759 characters

Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Fairly dark brow, not much head, but a thin tan strip. Very little lacing, does not look special.

S: A lot of dark chocolate and booze. Some dark fruit in there as well.

T: Just like the nose, chocolate up front, but too much boozy flavor. A backing of tart dark fruit. Dark malts are very much prevalent.

M: Decent amount of carbonation that makes this smooth.

D: Can finish a bomber, slowly, but watch out for the ABV near 10%.

 436 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes say:

Dark with ruby highlights

alcohol espresso nose,

big alcohol carmelized sugars

medium mouthfeel.

But after drinking a pigash valdez, troegs scratch, yuengling porter, geary london porter, Lenny's RIPA, old rasputin on nitro, and rogue red ale. I dont remember drinking this.

I also do not remember Getting from berkeley to san francisco that evening. Wow, doesn't happen often....

 398 characters

Photo of Thanby
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a finger of smooth brown head.

Nose is wonderfully smooth, lots of apricot and raisin, very sweet and full. A little hops and some notes of clove and nutmeg, overall very balanced.

The flavor is brighter than expected, a burst of lighter roasted malt and laced through with vanilla bean. Some toffee and caramel, and the dark fruits aren't as forward as expected. Rounded off by a bit of dry hops and a lingering sweetness.

Medium body, definitely like the nitrogen conditioning, very smooth and complex though a Tad on the sweet side and a little sticky at the end, this is still definitely wiry a try. My second Eel River, it continues to encourage me to sample more of their brews.

 704 characters

Photo of far333
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with purple highlights and a head of light brown foam that rises to a full inch and slowly recedes down to a fine cap.

Aroma of raisin and port, some molasses.

Vinous flavor, some cherry tang, molasses and brown sugar. Moves to coffee and cocoa. Subtle notes of alcohol. Seems to be missing a roasty character.

Thin mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Average drinkability, needs some complexity and backbone.

 419 characters

Photo of scottoale
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. brown bomber with no freshness date or bottling code visible. The label does seem to emphasize the fact that this beer is certified organic. I don't know why, but the sound of a beer being organic just seems to me that the flavor somehow will be lacking. Let' proceed.

The pour is ok with a dark chestnut brown ale, beneath a thin tan foamy head of 1/4". Carbonation looks a bit mild, the head resides to a ring and not much else. Resembles a porter more than a stout, looks wise.

The smell is fairly sweet and roasty, mostly like coffee, chocolate, caramel and grassy hops.

The taste is very much the same with little standing out. Kind of sweet and watery with just enough hops to help balance the finish. The alcohol does nothing smell or taste wise...hard to believe that it's 9.5% ABV. No warming...nothing.

Watery in the mouth with not much help from the low carbonation. You can drink it quite easily, but I fail to see anything "Imperial" about this stout. American Organic Stout, this brew would fit a style so-named.

 1,037 characters

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Raven's Eye comes in an Ed Allen Poe's ominous label with no freshness date. It pours an opal darkness that looks delicious with a small foam head. It has the smell of toasted malts and dark chocolate. The flavor is nice and smooth and chewy taste. It is a good Russian Imperial.

 283 characters

Photo of Proteus93
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Fairway Market in NYC, since it was within close walking distance of where I'm staying.

A: Not quite opaque, but very close. Head is pretty short, and recedes quickly, though a little trim of lace remains for a while behind.

S + T: Chocolate is first thing noted in the nose, and it's quite intense. Upon sipping, it's only more pronounced. It is almost as if it was brewed with chocolate, having some similar notes as brews including it, such as Choklat or Rogue Chocolate Stout. There's a bit of a malt backbone for it to fall back on, and it's not overwhelmingly sweet... however, it is pretty much dominated by one scent and flavour, I'm finding.

M + D: Body isn't too chewy, but medium and somewhat creamy. There's a nice carbonation to cut through that creaminess, and the two offer a balance to one another quite well. I question how often I'd get this were it available in my home state, but I do plan on getting at least one more in New York.

 987 characters

Photo of ewright
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a chalice, a generous finger of dark tan head forms on top of a completely opaque black beer.

S: Aromas of coffee, raisin, and a hint of toffee are evident. Tannins from the dark roasted grains lurk underneath.

T: The flavor is a bit raw, too much astringency up front and on the back of the tongue. A bit of cocoa comes through as the beer warms on the tongue. Hops are present, but not overwhelming. Thankfully, the astringency fades as the beer warms, but it is still noticable at 55F.

M: The astringency on the tongue really takes away from the mouthfeel. Carbonation is a bit high for an RIS, but not obnoxious.

D: Not the greatest RIS in the world, but at $2.99/22oz bomber, I'm not going to complain too much!

 735 characters

Photo of palmdalethriller
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a deep dark black with a hint of brown with a tan/brown head that foamed up about the size of a finger or two then dissipated pretty steadily, leaving watery suds on the side of the glass.

S - MMMM, dark chocolate with a hint of fruit - plums maybe, or appricot.

T - Not as much roast flavor as I had expected from the smell. A sweet, chocolaty start followed with a bitter finish. The hops were noticeable, but not extremely pleasant as they combined with the dark malts to give a somewhat unpleasant and harsh aftertaste.

M - Thick, but not chewy. About what an Imp Stout should be.

O - The smell was lovely, and it drank extremely well for a strong beer. If it weren't for that acrid aftertaste this would be a marvelous brew.

 744 characters

Photo of Richardberg
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Liquid is dark but not quite black; lets a little light thru and has a noticeably ruby border. No head at all.

S: deeply toasted malts, sweet caramel, licorice

T: crisp ale taste quickly blooms into a rather unexpected chocolate flavor. Finishes slightly bitter with ample hopping. Hard to believe it's the same beer as the smell description :) Thoroughly pleasant style-buster.

M: quite thin for a stout, little carbonation to speak of. Flavors are strong but don't linger (aside from the alcohol burn).

D: alky is pretty well hidden considering the 10% ABV. But you don't get the overall bold presentation that usually rewards your trip into big imperial brews.

 710 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in NJ a couple weeks ago. A short cap of fine tan foam topped this dark brown, mahogany beer. Some lacing, good head retention. Not much roast in the aroma, more burnt and charcoal than anything else, plus some malted milk, toffee, and chocolate. Mild bitterness up front. Sweet caramel and chocolate with that burnt, smokey character showing up mid-palate and lingering into the finish adding some bitterness. Ended with some ripe fruit adding to the mix. Creamy texture, soft carbonation with medium to full body and mild alcohol warmth. Not bad at all. The burnt character just seemed to be a bit overdone, but otherwise quite enjoyable.

 655 characters

Photo of aforbes10
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours big and black, approaching opaque. Short ring of a head around the outside of the glass. Wet, quick lacing. Smells good, of dark fruits, chocolate, all that good stuff. Flavor is similar to the aroma, though with more of a bitter coffee grounds taste, thats a bit distracting. Still, the fruits come through, as well as a strong alcohol punch that dominates the back end. Full bodied, as appropriate. Drinks fine, but not among the best of the style.

 456 characters

Photo of Bierman9
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of my Half Time bounty picked up on 26JAN10, setting me back $4.99 for a 22oz bottle.

About 18oz of that bomber filled my Rapscallion chalice. This RIS is nearly a black hole for light, as dark as a moonless night in the middle of the ocean. Head is nearly just an afterthought. Some beige bubbles are playing wallflower at the edge of the glass. Nose is quite inviting, with lots of roasty coffee and choco notes. Body borders on medium, and the feel is mostly smooth, with a slight touch of prickliness present.

We have a bit of sweetness present here, akin to the subtle amount in a bar of dark chocolate. There's lots of roasty flavors here, plus coffee notes, burnt brown sugar, and more dark chocolate. Hopping is on the restrained side, with a little flowery action showing up in the dry finish. Lots of bitterness is present in this one, and the 9.50% ABV is very well hidden. I wish there was more sweetness to offset that, but... This bier is a one-shot deal for me. Prosit!

look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 3.5


 1,059 characters

Photo of rastaman
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tap@Eel River. Rich and sweet, with some welcomed acidity and bitterness, oily, licoricy, roasted, long finish, good stuff. Not a style i generally mark low anyway, so most of the time its gonna get an OK score, but this was a middle of the road imperial stout, tasty stuff.

 274 characters

Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin creamy tan head that quickly dissipated and left a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edges of the glass.
S: There are aromas of chocolate and dark fruits in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the dark fruits are more prominently featured in the flavors, which also have notes of coffee and hints of roasted malts. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied but a bit thin on the palate with a light amount of carbonation. The finish has some notes of warming from the alcohol.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and any traces of alcohol are well hidden from the taste; however the beer lacks the full-bodied nature and bold flavors of roasted malts commonly exhibited by other beers in the style.

 811 characters

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