1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

265 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 265
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 9
Gots: 12 | FT: 1
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beerguy101 on 08-12-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 265 | Reviews: 180 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Vancer


3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pure oily black, thick and gooey rich - topped with a tan head that leaves the sticky lace ring around the ol' Corsendonk tulip.

Big whiff of chocolate milkshake greets the nose, subtle hints of anise just add to the urge to quaff. But the quaff is a bit of a letdown - brew is thinner than expected and missing a real RIS quality. Lacks any standout flavor. No hint of the strong booze, but seems closer to a dry stout than a big hitting Impy.

Decent, but not one I would seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2008 19:06:55 | More by Vancer
Photo of oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber- pours a dark black with frothy chunky beige head and sticky lacing. Nose- not alot there, faint roast and chocolate. Taste- dark chocolate, anise, hint of hotness, but overall very silky smooth. Finishes moderately dry. Body is tad thin, but drinkable

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 23:56:53 | More by oakbluff
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22-ounce cellar-cool bomber bottle poured into a shaker pint glass yields a light-absorbing dark mahogany body capped with a thick layer of oily mocha foam. The glossy, grainy-bubbled head recedes slowly and leaves a thick webbing of lacing on the glass.

Rich, dark-chocolatey malts and sweetly herbal hops greet the nose. I'm a fan of hoppy stouts, and this one is getting my hopes up right off the bat! Notes of dark caramelized sugar emerge as the drink warms.

The taste is rich and darkly malty with a spritz of citrusy hops. Notes of licorice and powder-dry cocoa work in concert to keep a hefty alcohol presence subdued and fruity, but a significant warming in the belly flashes a warning light at the drinker... "Look out, this one's packing heat!" The finish is dry and dark-chocolatey, and a boozy fruitiness increases toward the end of the drink.

The brew is on the full side of medium-bodied with fine, unobtrusive carbonation. Silky without being syrupy, and despite the significant ABV, Raven's Eye is a very drinkable Imperial stout. Remember, though, that just because this thing is 'Certified Organic' doesn't mean that it hippily embraces peace and love, and won't kick your ass!

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 13:51:16 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 03:29:05 | More by ericj551
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2008 00:54:45 | More by WesWes
Photo of abedenbaugh

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark black color with an off white head. The head has medium sized bubbles and stayed for awhile.
S: It has a very sweet aroma. Some alcohol in the nose. Also a little bit of a candy smell.
T: A soft roasty flavor up front. The mouth feel helps make everying more rounded in the beer. Some coffee. Hints of red wine. A little bit of bitterness in the end.
MF: Medium-heavy mouth feel and medium-high carbonation.
D: I enjoyed this beer a lot. The mouth feel really makes the beer more rounded and helped all of the flavors go well together.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2008 19:02:15 | More by abedenbaugh
Photo of khiasmus

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights and light tan head that retains quite well.
Smells like cinnamon rolls, pumpernickel, strong malt, almost wort.... a bit of dark grains. Very sweet overall in the nose with a bunch of very bready yeast.
Flavor is much the same as the nose... tastes under-attenuated because of the worty notes. Very sweet with a bit of roasted grain and fusel alcohol in the finish.
Velvety smooth with very high alcohol warmth and a hint of dryness from evaporation in the middle.
Quite drinkable. certainly worth a try and slightly underrated in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 01:01:55 | More by khiasmus
Photo of NEhophead


3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a goblet.

Pours a near opaque, deep oak in color beneath a carbonation-filled, tan head. The head's retention is minimal as it caves outward-in after only a moment. Dimpled lacing with average strength.

Milk & dark chocolate with a heavy mocha and caramel aroma. Light vanilla, espresso, and even dried hazlenut. A rounded, vinous fruit-soaked alcohol. Rich and quite complex.

Creamy caramel and milk chocolate up front, soon followed by a chewy, roasted malt character. Aged, vinous fruit: cherry, grape, plum, mildly tart green apple and orange. The alcohol presence is quite balanced and marries well with the chocolate and vinous fruit characters. The finish is rough and bittered, which shows a sharper alcohol presence in the aftertaste.

Full bodied; big flavors, but a lighter/thinner mouthfeel than I would expect from the style. Thin in spots, but mostly able to balance the flavors.

Good flavors and almost balanced; however, this is on the lighter side of an Imperial Stout. This actually tastes more like a Baltic Porter. Pleasant, but would not be my first choice for the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 21:33:59 | More by NEhophead
Photo of DrJay


3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2008 02:01:10 | More by DrJay
Photo of rajendra82


3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last of my recent pick ups from Green's in Greenville, South Carolina, Raven's Eye poured out pitch back in color and was opaque when held up against light. The head topping the beer was small, but dark, and dissipated in a short time to a layer of small bubbles. The smell was milder than a typical RIS, and was mostly chocolate and coffee with little hoppyness. The taste was reminiscent of sweetened dark coffee sprinkled with chocolate. There was a hint of dark fruits, but I had to look for it carefully. There was noticeable astringent, roasted grain, bitterness to counter the sweet malts. This was an intense but approachable beer, and made me easily forget the 9.5% ABV, until the warmth in the belly reminded me. Heft on the palette, and slickness of feel was unmistakably imperial. The aftertaste was short lived. Very enjoyable due to its well rounded construction, but none of the aspects were really a standout.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 03:51:04 | More by rajendra82
Photo of EagleTalon


3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a thin tan head and very dark red-brown color. Aroma is strong on roasted grain, coffee, vanilla and red wine. Flavor is a roasted malt and vanilla mixture with a caramel finish. Mouthfeel is full and a bit prickly form a bit too much CO2. Good tasting and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 23:07:08 | More by EagleTalon
Photo of lackenhauser


4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black in color. Smallish tan head. Mellow aroma-nice deep roasted mocha type smell. Killer roasted and somewhat coffeeish flavor. Silky smooth maltiness against the roasted flavor. Somewhat grainy taste. Nice level of hop bite to it. Lingering dark chocolate taste. Very full and smooth mouthfeel. Just a great RIS all around. Really a nice beer. I love the mellow coffe/mocha thing going on. Thank you sir can I have another?

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2008 02:51:58 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of LumpyGuitar

New York

4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2008 01:17:56 | More by LumpyGuitar
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with big bubbly white head. alty aroma. A bit prickly carbonation. Nitro,and very drinkable is the interesting highlight. Baker's chocolate, chocolate malt, some burnt caramel. Did not get significant coffee.Alcohol, and roast is there but not overt.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2008 03:31:29 | More by Sammy
Photo of Wasatch


3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to deepsouth for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a tulip a black color, some carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, all that is left is a big oil slick. The nose is malty, with some notes of toffee/chocolate/caramel, with some slight vanilla. The taste is sweet, malty, with some dark chocolates. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well though. Drinkable, this is my first Eel River brew, not too bad.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2008 01:10:17 | More by Wasatch
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I have tried quite a few organic beers before this one, and had yet to be impressed. This was the first organic I'd seen that was "big," and had high hopes for it. And while it was good compared to the other organic beers I have tried, it didn't compare favorably with other non-organic imperial stouts I've had. Nonetheless, it is not an unlikeable beer, and there is something redeeming in the bottle.

Color is dark, and head is minimal. Aroma is a bit subtle for an imperial stout, but offers some roastiness. Flavor really emerged when the beer warmed up a bit, and was a good amount sweeter at higher temperature. Flavor was very mild for the style and predominantly a nice roastiness. Mouthfeel was a bit watery/thin.

A pretty good brew, at a pretty good price, but by no means best in what is a very competitive style.

I bought this bottle at 3 Cellars in Franklin, WI.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2008 15:38:03 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of Kegatron


4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2008 16:54:27 | More by Kegatron
Photo of charlzm


3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Consumed at Lucky Baldwin's, 07/02/08.

Extremely dark clear brown, bordering on black. Ruby highlights around the edges. A one finger tan foam head reduced to a thin circle of foam with almost no lacing fairly quickly.

Aroma is reminiscent of red wine.

A little sticky as it glides into the mouth, this beer can best be described as a mild cherry cordial. Smooth and a little chocolaty with a subtle sweet cherry flavor in the aftertaste. Restrained flavor.

Drinkability suffers somewhat due to a one-note flavor and (in this case), overcarbonation. However, the relatively high alcohol content is utterly masked; I would have guessed this as a 5% ABV.

I might try it again, but it won't be a first choice.

Serving type: on-tap

07-04-2008 00:33:35 | More by charlzm
Photo of vurt


4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A welcome surprise at Lucky Baldwin's this evening. Enjoyed on-tap in a pint glass.

Very dark brown, opaque at the top of the pint glass, but ruby highlights are visible at the bottom. This beer is not on a nitro-tap, but the creamy beige head on top of the beer is still nitro-dense and rich.

Not much going on here, even after it warms up. Some dark-roasted malt, with notes of semi-sweet chocolate morsels and coffee with lots of cream. A slight buttery note which has me concerned about diacetyl.

Oh this is tasty! Bittersweet from the start, and full of dark chocolate. The middle is filled with lush notes of caramel and raisins, with an ever-so-slightly salty edge. Coffee and roasted malts fill the finish, which lasts and lasts. As the beer warms I get hints of smoke, maple, walnuts, and dates.

Rich, full-bodied, and sticky, with some viscosity. Chewy and satisfying. Good level of carbonation keeps the beer from getting syrupy.

The tap handle just says "Ravens Eye Organic Stout." Halfway through my first pint, I'm thinking it might be a foreign export or a double stout. So much flavor, with such a rich mouthfeel. It's only after I get close to the bottom of my second pint that I start to realize how strong this beer really is. Good thing I'm using public transit tonight. This stout is wonderfully, effortlessly drinkable. More, please.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2008 05:21:39 | More by vurt
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours close to an opaque black except for just ahint of ruby at the bottem of the impy pint glass,a thinner mocha colored head atop.Deep raisin and espresso roast coffee in the nose with some molasses in there as well.Full on dark fruit and alcohol sweetness hits the taste buds up front the sweet alcohol is tasty but dangerous,dark roast coffee has a hefty presence as well with a light drying earthiness in the finish.A very nice impy stout and I think Eal River is organic right?

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 21:55:13 | More by oberon
Photo of gford217


4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of deepsouth poured into a snifter.

A: Pours black with hints of ruby around the edges. The head is thin and bubbly and recedes quickly to a minimal swirl on top with a little lacing.

S: Smell is very sweet for an RIS - big on sweet roasted malts with dark chocolate and dark fruits very evident as well. Maybe a hint of smoked wood in the nose as well.

T: Taste is also very sweet and dominated by the sweetness of dark fruits, vanilla, and roasted malts up front. There is a bit of dark chocolate and coffee as well and a faint hint of hops in the finish, but not much.

M: Mouthfeel is sticky sweet and very creamy with decent carbonation.

D: This isn't the most complex of RIS's but it's very drinkable if you're OK with sweeter stouts. Enjoyable and recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 03:16:33 | More by gford217
Photo of sulldaddy


4.63/5  rDev +23.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2008 02:12:18 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tar black pour with a moderate mocha head that quickly falls to a lasting ring leaving plenty of thick lace. Pours with the viscosity of used 10W40, massive legs.

Aroma is darkly roasted malt, scorched caramel, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of old dry leather.

Flavor is bittersweet black malts, crushed espresso beans, very dark unsweetened chocolate, a hint of vanilla, and some dry leather and faint minerality. In spite of the massive flavor profile, the alcohol heat takes over the finish. This sucker needs a year or so to chill out.

Body is as big as they come. Easily one of the thickest beers I've had. Almost gaggingly thick at times which really hinders the drinkability. I think this particular bottle must be from the very dregs of the tank it came from prior to bottling.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2008 14:47:32 | More by AlexJ
Photo of blitheringidiot


4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big ole double duecer 9.5% ABV. Label states "nitrogen conditioned." Huh?

Pours with an intense buh-lack as ink hue topped with a spumescent khaki dense cap leaving plenty of residual lace in the glass.

Earthy nose of mineral and espresso. Bold nose of wet creek rocks and a handful of dirt. Molasses and burnt toast.

First swigs: Dense layers of bakers chocolate, roasted barley, espresso bean, and vanilla hints. This one is nice. There is a chocolate aspect that really holds firm through the taste. No signs of 9.5 ABV in sight.

Feel is full bodied and rich with a dry finish.

Last swigs: A R.I.S. worthy of trying. Bakers chocolate and burnt malt goodness. Yum!

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2008 17:22:17 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of micahgoldfus

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2008 17:13:07 | More by micahgoldfus
Raven's Eye Imperial Stout from Eel River Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 265 ratings.