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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: 314
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: 314
Photo of farrago
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Good aggression in the head, pours up above two fingers and slows drops off from that, nice brownish hue with thick lacing. Very deep brown but not quite black in color, touch of burnt orange around the rims. Solidly built nose of coffee bean, dry dark chocolate, hard caramel candy with no lack of plum, cherry, fig fruit and dried oats in reserve, flutter of black licorice. Full-bodied, heavy enough that the weight fends off the carbonation and forces things down into the tongue. Here, the licorice is clearer although not appreciably larger than the base of coffee, mocha and cocoa. Nothing truly comes across as "sweet," more so concentrated. As it moves forward traces of orange peel, cherry and plum fruit, corn husk, almonds and mesquite grill smoke drift through. That said, as it nears the finish line seems to draw back into itself rather than expand. If someone handed me a bottle I wouldn't hit them over the head with it.

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

This is my second time drinking this beer. Found it the first time by chance while looking for anything respectable in a small hick town in No Cal. This time it was completely intentional.

A- obsidion in color, like if you get too close it may suck you in and transport you to another demention. Not so much of a head but carbonation pills up on the surface similar to a beer of much lighter persuation.

S- lots of earthen tones, slightly dirty, anise, chocolate, reminds me of Black Albert.

T- Pure LICORICE...Anise in my opinion is a greener, crisper flavor. This slides down like a licorice rope. Back end follows up with a hoppy alcoholic edge but fades too quickly. The sweetness could be a little less but awsome for a relatively unknown brewery. Good for a 9.5% ABV.

M- 100%, this is my standart for Imperial stouts. This beer will appeal to those who want a good beer without chewing it.

D- The sweetness keeps it from being a 4.5 but for the licorice lover its a 5.1 for sure.

I'm glad I sat down to review. I just wish it had a slightly thicker lace and head. The dissapearance of the head lends itself well to the full bodied nature but would help complicate the aroma a bit. Try This Beer!! Good 9.5 Imperial Stout.

Bravo to Eel River for putting Scotia California on the map.

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

Bomber poured into a stemless red wine glass.

A-Lighter-brown head, thick and big with a nice retention. Even at the last sip, a consistent bubble layer remained. The beer was black and relatively opaque.

S-Roasty malts, prunes and other dried fruits. A slight alcohol makes an appearance.

T-Initially chocolate with roasted malts, perhaps with a almond-like nut character. Minimal nuances of dark dried fruits. There's a detectable hop presence, both in flavor and bitterness. The alcohol stands out as a bit too rough. Finshes witha dry, dirty coffee.

M-Low carbonation with a lighter-side-of-full body. A very definite warmth emerges alongside the smooth, satiny feel.

D-This is a good one. Not great, in terms of its competition, but it's also a little bit cheaper than some more-hyped RISes. Quite enjoyable.

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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.

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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 SaCkErZ9
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very roasty aroma with some chocolate and a touch of citrus hops. Really a ton of coffee and roastiness which suits my taste buds just fine.

Quite roasty with little sweetness and a good dose of roasty bitterness. Chocolate and loads of coffee make this one a tasty brew.

Medium bodied with a slightly oily finish with some bitterness and some fruitiness as well.

I really liked this one. I have really been in a stout mood lately and this one certainly fit the bill.

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Photo of erikm25
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a rich blackened syrup. Tough to see any other tints or hues in this massive darkness. Looks like espresso. Still not quite as black as the heart, or the fur, of my little black doom cat. The head is a dense caramel pillow though not as fluffy as I was hoping for. Retention was fair. Some spotted lacing around the glass.

S: Subtle amount of malts and some slight dark candied fruits. There were hints of oak and maple with a dash of figs. Has a burnt and roasted quality with some mocha undertones. Aromas seemed generally tame despite a good variation.

T: The brewery website states that this is brewed with a combination of nine domestic and imported malts. Strong tastes of chocolate and coffee with some burnt cherries. Very rich with hints of buttery caramel and vanilla. Cocoa and brown sugar coated blackberries. Black licorice melted in a campfire pot of molasses and fresh pine thrown in for good measure. A woody aspect to this beer with a minimal hops finish. Alcohol is a little more present as this warms up.

M: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Could have been a little more thick (Michael Scott: "That's what she said").

D: I'm starting to enjoy this style of beer. Goes well with Kyuss (Blues for the Red Sun) and cooking. I found Raven's eye to be a very impressive beer. Not something that I could drink a lot of since 22oz carries its weight. After a little reading Eel River Brewing is the first certified organic brewery in America which is pretty cool. Very reasonably priced and highly recommended.

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Photo of Overlord
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black, thin tan head. Smells ... like molasses.

Taste has a bunch of molasses, burnt sugar, some roasted malt and a bit of chocolate ... pretty overwhelmed by the sugariness. Almost no aroma.

Fairly thin mouthfeel, but creamy. Decent, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get.

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Photo of biggmike
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an extreme dark brown color that appears almost black with decent tan head that stayed for a while. The aroma is fruit, roasted malt, and chocolate. The flavor is basically the same. I found the body to be a bit thin for the style. Carbonation seemed about right. This is a nice Imperial Stout that could be improved a bit of tweaking.

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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....

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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.

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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.

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Photo of nickfl
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A small, medium brown head with little lace. The body is opaque black.

S - Dark chocolate with some nutty malt and spicy hops. Some slightly solventy alcohol in the background.

T - Chocolate and roasted malt dominate. Some mild hops in the middle and the finish is all coffee and chocolate.

M - Somewhat thick body, medium carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This is a nice, solid imperial stout. It is not complex enough to compete with the really great big stouts, but it has a nice dark malt and it gets the job done.

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Photo of stephens101
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always appreciated organic breweries, but sometimes the brews don't seem to hit me just right. That being said, I'm opening up to the idea more, and am trying to support more organic breweries. Eel River is new in these parts, so I'm looking forward to trying all their beers. Let's see how this one stacks up.

A one finger quickly fading tan head completes a jet black pour. Diminutive sheets of lacing rise above the brew when all settles down. A deep whiff brings to the noses attention some roasted malts and nuts, dark chocolate and dark fruits (figs, raisins, grapes). Aroma isn't overly complex, but the ingredients are quite evident without too much effort being made. Tastes malty, spicy and sweet up front. More grain and pine exist in the middle with some medicinal notes, bitterness and a good alcohol heat bringing up the end. The taste of this full-bodied brew is more complex than the smell, and yet it goes down quite fluidly. There's not a ton of carbonation, but just enough to keep things floating on the palate.

This is one of the best organic brews I've tried, and proves to me that taste doesn't have to suffer just because it's organic. Kudos Eel River!

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Photo of kkipple
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes:

A. A thin, clear brown brew with a small, dense tiny head. A bit light for the style.

S. Rather boozy, fruity, some roast grains and chocolate... needs more chararacter to be memorable. Requisite coffee and cocoa are there, nice sweet smell, still bit messy.

T. Hmm... thin, tastes somewhat like wort. Unfermented grain sugars. Alcohol forward and still sweet. Unrefined, needs tightening up. Brown sugar, coffee, dark fruit, something here reminds me of a brown ale. Hmm.

M. Thin, wet, sweet finish. Adequate carbonation.

D. Eh... yeah, I mean, you can... but there are so many better brews out there. Hard to recommend.

Rather unimpressive. Too much alcohol and fruitiness make for a rather vague brew that runs against the style. Not bad, just not worth buying again. Pity.

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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.

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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 beerphan
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber -> american pint
no date ( 2008 )

Pours pitch black with a small cocoa colored head. Thick lace sticks to the glass in sheets.

Nose: Dark malts, deep dark fruit flavors, currants, licorice and a little booze.

Slick thick juicy mouthfeel. Dark malts, chocolate bit of coffee. Finishes with a chalky cocoa like bitterness. A huge flavor profile here pholks, kudos.

An imperial in every sense of the word. Booze warms a bit but never dominates. Organic ta bute. Thanks to Alushia for the bombers!

Enjoyed, thanksgiving 2008.

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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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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 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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Photo of cvfish
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a glass

A - Black color with a light brown head that dissappeared quickly as the brew was drunk

S - Wasn't impressed with the scent, burnt scents were the most apparent

T - Tasted like roasted coffee with a slight chocolate aftertaste

M - Medium bodied brew with more carbonation than I prefer

D - Other than the higher than normal carbonation, very good brew

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Photo of Vancer
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
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

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Photo of cvstrickland
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!

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