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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.

274 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 274
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.83%
Wants: 10
Gots: 15 | 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
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Ratings: 274 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of QuentinCompson


2.9/5  rDev -22.5%

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.

02-26-2010 18:04:25 | More by QuentinCompson
Photo of jampics2


4.08/5  rDev +9.1%

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Looks nice, black body with tan head. Minimum head but it sticks.

Smell is chocolate malt, roast, molasses, and a slight metallic tinge either from the yeast or the minimally present aroma hops.

Taste is really quite nice. Kinda in the same vein as all the other big American RIS with sweet residual sugars, but this has a wonderful balance between the roasty dark flavors and the sweetness. Some chocolate and coffee, roasted burnt malt, and molasses. Really nice but alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms.

Mouthfeel is good but could be better. Not thick and viscous enough but not horrible, I've had much worse. Carb is spot-on, there to break things up but not distracting at all.

Drinkability is good. Didn't know what to expect from this one, but it's a great RIS. Good balance of flavors without going for the extreme, overshadowing approach. Good beer, glad to try it!

02-17-2010 18:44:37 | More by jampics2
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

3.1/5  rDev -17.1%

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.

02-15-2010 06:35:10 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +9.1%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coal-black color and a thick consistency. There was a quarter inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: Big aroma of coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and some variety of fruit. The alcohol wasn't as present as I thought it might be. A solid flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable, well-made beer.

02-14-2010 14:57:13 | More by avalon07
Photo of mithrascruor


4/5  rDev +7%

22 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a solid black color with dark tan head that is little more than a dense film.

Smell: I can notice a bit of sugar and cream, some coffee and chocolate, but only a bit of malts.

Taste: A slightly difficult taste to describe, as there's a lot of little things going on, but nothing is easy to pinpoint. There's a nice roasted malt base to the flavor, but it isn't very strong. On top we've got some milk and sugar, a bit of coffee, a hint of chocolate, and even some cranberries. A hint of hops and maybe alcohol in the aftertaste. It is more sweet than I would have expected.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and somewhat viscous; light carbonation that seems to go pretty well here. Pretty smooth too.

Drinkability: Despite the 9.5% ABV, it doesn't seem (or taste) like it.

While I think it is a bit sweet for this style, I did really enjoy it and thought it was quite tasty.

02-05-2010 04:00:12 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -1.6%

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


02-03-2010 01:04:15 | More by Bierman9
Photo of Boto


3.98/5  rDev +6.4%

22oz. bomber: This one pours an opaque, dark brown color. There was a pretty decent sized dark tan head on it that lingers a bit. Pretty decent nose. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, maybe some dark fruits. The taste is pretty similar. The tastes are pretty balanced. Chocolate, molasses, some fruits, just a hint of coffee. A touch of alcohol comes through also. Some bitterness in the finish. Pretty decent.

01-24-2010 20:25:29 | More by Boto
Photo of SykDoc


3.88/5  rDev +3.7%

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. It pours a moderately dark brown that looks almost black and is opaque when held to the light. A short-lived 1/8 inch dark tan head forms and reduces to a mild lacing, primarily around the edge.

The aroma is good with components of chocolate, red currants, and roasted malts, as well as some toffee notes.

The taste is good as well, with an initial malty sweetness, followed by a bready component, and then a coffee-like bitterness at the finish. There is definitely dark chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Alcohol is modestly noticeable.

The mouthfeel was a bit off. It is light/medium bodied and is too thin in the intensity. A sugary sweetness is left over with some dryness on the tongue at the end. Carbonation is fairly good.

This beer is easy to drink primarily due to the smell and taste. It has a healthy ABV but doesn't show it too intensely. Drinkable and worth having with some possible sites that might improve the overall style points.

01-06-2010 00:56:55 | More by SykDoc
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.78/5  rDev +1.1%

Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Off the pour, the body doesn't look nearly as dark or thick as I'd like. Shades of crimson and caramel shine through around the edges of the body. A short, light brown, foamy head sat on top for the first minute or two, and held on as a splotchy cap from there on out. Moderate lacing. Other than the translucency, it's a pretty good-looking beer.

Smell: Raspberries, molasses, milk chocolate, and red currants. Roasted malt is there too, but it's surprisingly mild. A cool take on the style. I dig it.

Taste: Red currants, cola, dark chocolate, and roasted malt, in that progression. The tartness that appears upfront carries on all the way to the finish, but mellows out along the way. The chocolately aspect quickly combines with bitter roastiness, both of which control the aftertaste. Pretty easy for an RIS, but unique and interesting. Once again, I dig.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation of this beer is excellent: velvety and rolling. However, I'm not too stoked on the other aspects. First off, the body is way too thin; it doesn't feel like an imperial stout at all. Second, the beer finishes very clean, which is a good thing for most styles of beer, but not this style of beer. I want my imperial stouts to be thick and creamy and/or syrupy. This beer doesn't possess any of those qualities. With that said, this beer doesn't feel bad; it's just not what it should be. 2.25

Drinkability: While the light body really hurt the mouthfeel score, it certainly helped in terms of drinkability. I finished the whole bomber on my own with no problem. The taste and smell were intriguing enough to keep me happy for the entire session. I'll probably be buying this beer again, though I wouldn't call it a great RIS. Also, alcohol is hidden very well.

12-31-2009 02:18:58 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of katan


3.48/5  rDev -7%

22 oz bomber into a goblet - no date located

A - Pours a dark brown to almost black. Very light/little head retention or even creation for that matter. Light bubbling, appears to be on the lightly carbonated side.

S - Chocolate and toffee notes lead the way, a bit sweet. In the background is a very bready yeast scent - seems to be an overall malty nose.

T - Starts off with the light malt sweetness and the bready complement. Certainly like it smells. Builds some chocolate notes mid-stream along with bitterness. No hopping detected. Finishes with a bit of a harsh note, coffee like, biting and acidic. Aftertaste is of bittersweet chocolate. The alcohol is well hidden considering what it weighs in at.

M - Light in beer body - especially for the style. Carbonation makes up for it, but that isn't necessarily desirable. Leaves behind a sugar cling on the palette. Something harsh hits the back of my tongue on this one.

D - ABV will knock you around if aren't paying attention. Certainly a one and done beer. A bit filling from the carbonation notes.

11-26-2009 04:33:07 | More by katan
Photo of BabyRoh


3.08/5  rDev -17.6%

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.

11-18-2009 23:17:47 | More by BabyRoh
Photo of njmoons

New Jersey

3.6/5  rDev -3.7%

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.

11-15-2009 14:17:17 | More by njmoons
Photo of WJVII


3.2/5  rDev -14.4%

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).

11-14-2009 04:39:05 | More by WJVII
Photo of WYVYRN527


3.6/5  rDev -3.7%

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.

11-12-2009 05:36:58 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of theboozecruise


4.05/5  rDev +8.3%

My first beer from Eel River... let's see how this goes.

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass... beautiful chocolate body with a creamy beige head... even overflowed a little. Hopefully the beer gods will forgive me!

The smell is a little muted, the malt and chocolate is there like you'd expect just not as strong as I'd like to smell. A little bit of raisin in there as well.

Not so on the palate. Chocolaty malt is what you get, followed by a tinge of bitter hops on the back of the tongue. I like it.

Feels great going down, the 9.5% abv is very well balanced with the flavors.

In my opinion, a very well done imperial stout.

10-30-2009 21:52:36 | More by theboozecruise
Photo of far333


3.63/5  rDev -2.9%

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.

10-19-2009 04:05:58 | More by far333
Photo of NorCalYeti


3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

taste- chocolate malt, roasted coffee

color- deep, red-brown

clarity- opaque but pours clear

smell- chocolate malt

body- firm and lean

appearance- dark, clean, thin off-white head

overall impression- good, lean

notes- this is the first eel river beer i like. killer label, would have liked a creamier mouthfeel. would like more roast and heavier chocolate. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

10-17-2009 23:07:30 | More by NorCalYeti
Photo of EgadBananas


2.8/5  rDev -25.1%

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....

10-10-2009 01:09:17 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of maximum12


3.78/5  rDev +1.1%

A bomber split with the wife that said kind wife bought for me for my birthday. Is there anything better than a wife that gets you a box of beer for your birthday AND your anniversary? Didn't think so.

Pours pitch black with no fizz to speak of, not even a cute little tan or white ring. Reeks of alcohol & black licorice.

Raven's Eye is dominated by the taste of black licorice, which I don't believe I've ever tasted in a brew before. Along for the ride is a hefty box of chocolate, gritty roasted dark grains, & a splash of espresso.

My only real complaint about this one is that it's extremely filling, after about two ounces I'm feeling the nooks & crannies in my tummy starting to fill up with dark stout goodness. Style-appropriate thickness that coats my tongue & mouth.

Very good beer. Not tasty enough to crack the upper echelon of imperial stouts, but an original take on the style & certainly quaffable.

10-10-2009 00:38:57 | More by maximum12
Photo of sweetbrew82


3.15/5  rDev -15.8%

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

09-25-2009 10:34:08 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of DontTreadOnMike


2.88/5  rDev -23%

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.

08-27-2009 13:15:47 | More by DontTreadOnMike
Photo of BeardedBoffin

New Mexico

3.23/5  rDev -13.6%

The brown bomber states that Raven's Eye Imperial Stout is, apparently, certified organic.

The beer pours a dark chestnut brown with a big robust cap of ecru foam. Semisweet chocolate in the nose is kissed with some sweet dark fruit aromas. Surprisingly light on the palate, a little thin as it makes its way back.

The flavor starts out bland. Things pick up as it moves through the center with milk chocolate character and a bitter cocoa finish. Just a tad of booze is detectable right at the end.

This beer could use some complexity. The profile is thin and the flavor is weak, particularly upfront.

07-08-2009 00:02:54 | More by BeardedBoffin
Photo of thekevlarkid


3.93/5  rDev +5.1%

This was the last bottle from a birthday gift my (now-ex) girlfriend gave me in August of 2008. It wasn't the best bottle from that gift, but it meant the most to me when I finally drank it in March of 2009. Wherever you are Sarah, I love you, I miss you and thank you. Out of the bomber the brew was a dark brownish-black color with a tan head. The retention was decent as a thin skim and the lacing spotty but consistent. The aroma was full of chocolate with some dry cocoa, roasted malt, light coffee, alcohol heat and caramel malt. The flavors were again full of chocolate malt along with alcohol heat, raisins, dark fruit, molasses, roasted malt and a little coffee on the finish. The mouthfeel was a little oily but slightly above-average, the body full and the carbonation medium. Yum. And thank you again. For everything.

07-06-2009 16:56:02 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of JamnesCameron


3.98/5  rDev +6.4%

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Beer Hunter snifter.

Full, dark tan head that dissapates quickly. Opaque black. No light gets through.

Aromas of roasted malt, alcohol, figs, and plums/prunes.

Taste is much like the aroma. First impression is fruit (figs and plums), malt, alcohol, and carbonic acid. After taste is sweet malt and fruit, and....licorice on the finish.

On second sniff, licorice is present as well.

Biggest drawback on this beer is mouthfeel. It is a little thin. Not very coating. A little spritzy from the carbonation, more than I would like in an imperial stout.

Drinkability is good. I can imagine the fruit coming forwward with a year or more of cellaring, and the carbonation thinning a bit.

Good beer overall. Not sure that the Organic label means anything to me, personally. but would buy/drink again.

06-28-2009 01:21:30 | More by JamnesCameron
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.28/5  rDev +14.4%

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.

06-26-2009 00:09:35 | More by johnnnniee
Raven's Eye Imperial Stout from Eel River Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.