Southampton Imperial Russian Stout - Southampton Publick House

Not Rated.
Southampton Imperial Russian StoutSouthampton Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

337 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 337
Reviews: 159
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 405
Gots: 96 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 337 | Reviews: 159
Reviews by RandomBattle:
Photo of RandomBattle
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black, tan head. Thick body. Very stout-like.

Smell - Roasted malt, chocolate, licorice, and some earthy hops.

Taste - Sweet and roasty. Great RIS taste, notes of chocolate, roasted malt, brown sugar, and licorice. Delicious.

Mouthfeel - Thick full body. Just right.

Overall - A great beer, has everything I look for in a non bourbon barrel aged stout. I enjoy the fact that its a seasonal beer as well, it makes me look forward to having it again and fills me with memories of the last time I had it.

More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

05 vintage consumed just over a year ago. Review from old notes. What a beer and what a brewery. I continue to be blown away by South Hampton. Dark brown, almost black body with a thick tan head that quickly diminishes to rest as a thin but pretty lace over the beer. Aroma is heavy on chocolate followed by well roasted malts. Some alcohol elements. Flavor is an exquisite blend of cocoa powder, burnt to the point of blackness malts, and figgy/plumy dark fruit booze. Minimal oxidization. Bitterness seems more coffee/chocolate in nature than hops. Light carbonation, thick body, but very drinkable. Outstanding.

Photo of Jason
3.13/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2005 on the cap.

A- Used motor oil black color, nearly poured like it as well. Slow moving brown head holds its ground for a while.

S- Wet acrid burnt malt, underlying burnt sugar sweetness and some ripe dark berries make up the aroma.

T&M- Big sweetness, a higher sweetness of unfermentables. A bit too sweet as the burnt grain rides higher with a sharpness rather than complexity. Small complexity of estery dark berries and burnt coffee drive at the palate with a further sharpness. Smooth with a viscous creamy heavy body.

D- Couldn't finish the bottle ... I even let it warm up and tried again later to no avail. Not horrible but just misses the mark, I did not mind sipping about 6oz of it ... paired well with some dark Belgian Chocolate.

Photo of tjthresh
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a bottle form 2007 and I drank it shortly after its release. Pours black with a big brown head. Thick lace. Smoke, tobacco, licorice, and a lot of hops in the nose. Chocolaty with truck loads of hop flavor. Warm and bitter. Full body. High carbonation. Dry finish. Should have let this bear age.

Photo of Billolick
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the venerable Blind Tiger ale house in my home town, NYC. What can be added about this fine brew? Its black, strong,rich, flavorful,.malty,roasty, complex, chewy. Just an all around fine product. If you see it available in your local drinking establishment, do yourself a favor and order one. You cannot go wrong with this one, especially if you are a stout lover. I wouldnt start with this one however, it makes a much better last brew then a first. Sante..

Photo of warriorsoul
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005...Snagged one of these at Shoreline Beverage while visiting the island...
Pours a viscous black ink color with less than 1/4 finger of cocoa head...a thin layer sticks around for the duration.
Beautiful aroma...packed with dark chocolate, raisins, mild coffee, and sweet malt. Not much hop in the nose, but this has been sitting in the cellar for almost a year.
The taste is glorious...masterfully blended. Huge chocolate profile with a nice addition of espresso...mild sweetness and a decent hop addition to bitter up the finish. Alcohol is very well hidden and there is not much heat in the last few swigs.
Mouthfeel is quite thick and not cloying...semi-dry, but sweet enough to make this offering highly drinkable. One of the easiest drinking RIS I have had to date...very glad I sat on this one for a special occasion.

Photo of badbeer
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Bottling:

Black with a tan head leaving excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is mostly of dark chocolate, licorice, and roastiness, also some alcohol is noticeable. Taste is of sweet caramel, toffee, roasty coffee flavors, and some licorice. Medium carbonation and body. A real good beer, and one I'd expect to age quite well.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. The label says bottle 459 of 500. 2010 vintage.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is pretty basic Russian Imperial Stout with notes of roasted malt, chocolate and some dark fruit. The flavor is heavy on the chocolate malt with some burnt/heavily roasted malt and smoke mixed in. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. A very good imperial stout but a tad bit of a let down overall.

Photo of ehammond1
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, whartontallboy!

Black throughout with a small dark brown head. This looks thick and menacing, leaving spots of lace down the glass.

Big, full aroma of roasted malt, some coffee, a bit of bready sweetness, and some alcohol heat. Straightforward, though mightily expressive.

The taste follows the aroma, with huge notes of roast and coffee, very mild chocolate, and just a hint of dark fruit. There's a bit of an alcohol presence also, but it's not distracting and even complementary.

Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Perfect for the style.

Very nice. I'd tried a 2008 bottle a few weeks prior to opening this 2012 bottle fresh. I prefer it aged, though it's good either way.

Photo of rudylaw
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to eyebrews for bringing this 2009 bottle to a recent tasting.

A luscious, dark pour yields a beautiful head.

Huge amounts of cocoa, malts, coffee and dark fruit in the nose. This is a wonderful smelling stout! Very complex.

All that and then some in the taste... but there's something unique here too... some marshmallow fluff likeness perhaps? Medium-bodied and finishes rather dry for an RIS.

This was the standout of the night for me. I'm glad to have another bottle for a future tasting to enjoy!

Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottle laid in cellar for a few months. Coca-cola dark colour and strong Southampton carbonation. Mellowed taste, and medium mouthfeel not a thick Russian porter. Easy drink, but its like a Coca-Cola in strong caramel, though some grains of cocoa, I am sorry fans, please don't flame me. Enjoyable but overated.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the source, Southampton release party 1/30. Poured into a gin and tonic glass because they ran out of all the other glassware.

A: Served a 1.5 finger semi-fine deep chocolate head with decent retention. Beer is opaque black though a bit thin. Lacing is stringy and sticky.

S: Bitter chocolate, smokey, burnt malts, hop aroma is well-hidden in the background. Coffee is prominent upfront but not overwhelming and not sour.

T: Burnt malt backbone makes this RIS truly unique. Coffee is present but layered thin over hints of bitter and dark chocolate. Hoppiness is mixed with a coffee bean bitterness. Dark fruit is lightly present with a smattering here and there but otherwise barely detectable. Finish is that burnt malt backbone that lingers through the entire experience.

M: Medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated, and just the smoothest beer I have ever had. Silky and slightly oily but not sticky. Finish is clean, quick, and just right. Absolutely perfect.

D: Highly complex but that's expected from an RIS. Feel here is really the selling point for me. This beer goes down unbelievably easily. How it can be 10.2% abv. is beyond me. Worth seeking out.

Photo of nickd717
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle via trade thanks to badbeer. I met the brewer from Southampton, Phil Markowski, at GABF recently, and I've been impressed with everything I've tried from them so far. This was no exception. Copied from notes again after earlier rating was deleted.

A - Pours jet black and fairly thick with a small tan head and good lacing.

S - Aroma is roast, coffee, licorice, and some dark fruit. Smells very good.

T - Flavor is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and a little anise. Very good and well-balanced, if not too intense. A little on the less sweet side for an imperial stout.

M - Silky smooth on the palate with medium full body and a little alcohol warmth.

D - Pretty drinkable for an imperial stout.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Thick black body. Medium mocha head. Thin collar.

Smell - Licorice. Roasted malt and coffee. A little boozy.

Taste - Fruity. Licorice. Deeply roasted malt. Hefty bitterness. Fudgy in the back end. Boozy finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Medium carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

Overall - An intense and delicious stout. Excellent.

Photo of thagr81us
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared during a small Charlotte BA tasting with marine1975, caSSino, CarolinaKevin, and GehenHerzog. Massive thanks goes out to CarolinaKevin for sharing this tick with the group! Bottle 610 of 650! Served from bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Poured pitch black with a three finger brown head that subsided to one finger massively slow. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, sweet malt, dark fruit, sweet alcohol, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of roasted malt, smoke, dark fruit, dark chocolate, and alcohol on the followthrough. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation that was almost felt creamy on the palate. Overall this brew was quite excellent. The flavor was both very smooth and nicely complex. Also it had a nice toasty aspect going on too. The aroma was very inviting and pleasant was well. Really glad I got a chance to try this one and I suggest you seek it out as well.

Photo of drowland
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12/17/10. 750 thanks to Keith (fata2683) for his leaving Florida party! Solid opaque black pour with a small brown head. Nice roasted aroma with hints of sour American stout. Hugely complex stout flavors with sweet, coffee, dark chocolate, roast, sour, fruits, molasses, and anything you can think of! Very nice!

Photo of SpdKilz
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Shane for sharing this at a recent small tasting at sirotan’s up in Ann Arbor. 2010 vintage.

Appearance – Pours into my tulip with a dark black color and about a half finger of mocha colored head that dissipates slowly leaving some nice lacing.

Smell – Loads of bittersweet cocoa/chocolate and roasted malts. This is always a positive sign to me because it means the initial aromas are not too sweet...which personally is a bit off putting for a RIS. A hint of molasses and caramel, but again it is not the dominant aroma.

Taste – Char, roasted malts, and bittersweet chocolate up front. A very dry stout. Mixes in with just a hint of sweet molasses (and a touch of toffee).

Mouthfeel – Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation, creamy, finishes dry.

Overall – A great RIS. Very glad I was able to try this due to a generous BA. Would seek out in the future.

Photo of akorsak
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A snifter glass served at Capone's.

A: The stout is big and black, bold in ites depth with a tan head that lightly sits atop the ale.

S: The aroma is just as you'd expect, burnt with coffee, baker's chocolate and charred toast throughout. Lactic milkiness manages to break the density up a bit.

T: The taste branches out a bit, showcasing more of the imperial stout flavors with sweeter elements. Toffee and hops are far more prevalent this time around, as is coffee element. Overall, the stout is thick and chewy, a meal on its own.

M: The mouthfeel is dense and easily overwhelms the palate. Nothing within the ale stood out as earth-shaking but there's no denying that the beer is pleasant.

D: At 10%, this beer is a doozy. I limited myself to one and, in hindsight, that was a brilliant decision. I'd still curl up with a glass of this on a cold night.

Photo of Jredner
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Bottle

Aroma is forceful and includes mild hints of soy, huge cocoa, chocolate, espresso, roasted malts, dark fruits, unsweetened brownie batter, raisin and rich chocolate cake. Pours is motor oil gloppy and settles into a stygian blackness in the glass. The head looks like a Stout Parfait with distinct shades of mocha and tan (one atop the other) combing to make an amazingly lasting thumb thick beauty of a head.

The fore is extremely packed with dark chocolate, cocoa, esspresso, raisin, stewed prunes and light soy sauce. This segues into a cramier, sweeter tasting middle that is more creamed coffee and milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is divine and spot on. The finish lingers forever with lip smacking dark fruits, chocolate, esspresso, cocoa and that unsweetened brownie mix I swear I smell and taste. There are also hints of raisin and plum in the far finish as well. This beer just has amazing range, flavor intensity and depth. I really wish this was a more regular Southampton offering. Fantastic brew.

Photo of DrewZ926
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black body with about three fingers of cocoa head. Surprisingly highly carbonated, appears fairly thick.

Wonderful aromas of bitter espresso beans, inviting milk chocolate, plenty of caramel and chocolate covered raisins. Also a hint of piney hoppiness.

Fantastic balance here. Starts with sweet vanilla, baker's chocolate, molasses. Evolves into wonderfully roasted coffee, a tinge of hop resin, and bitter cocoa.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than expected and a bit too carbonated for the style. Highly drinkable however, does not wear on the palate or belly.

Overall this beer lived up to the hype in my mind. Found it to be an excellent representation of the style and an extremely well crafted ale. The balance was superb and should improve with time as some of the sweetness mellows. Not boozy at all might I add. I would seek this out again (next year's release) and recommend anyone in the area to do the same. Found the IRS highly comparable with Marshall Zhukhov in many dimensions.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a huge medium brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of roasted malt with clear notes of green hops with light floral and bitter notes. Taste was a very nice mix between some roasted malt with dry coffee notes, some rich black chocolate and some green bitter and floral hops. All the ingredient and flavour were well integrated and balanced. Body was full with a smooth creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not the most complex imperial stout that I have tasted but I must admit that everything was well balanced while still having some complexity.

4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks goes out to Los for this gem.

2008 Vintage

Almost three fingers of thick rocky foamy carmel brown head leaves a crown of lace as it slowly fades. Body is jet used oil blackness. Nose is lovely with tons of over ripe cherries, roasted malts, leather, dark fruits and even hints of oak. Dark fruits are nicely spicey as you take first sip. The balance and richness almost seems as if it were oak aged. Vanilla and carmalized malts come in layers of balanced sweetness. Zesty on the back of the palate shows you can use hops to balance a beer rather than over hop it like some other well rated big stouts. A bit of bourbon and chocolate on the mouthfeel turns a bit boozy. Warms the belly well. A joy to drink now, but would age well.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wanted to get a few reviews in while the beer was fresh on my brain and the notes still made sense.

Big Ole 2009 vintage 750 provided at the Friday the 13th tasting by Jake65... Seriously huge thanks to Jake.. this is one of my biggest white whales... bottle 375 of 450.

Poured into my Delerium goblet... Dark tan head.. good/great lacing and retention.

Nose is a beautiful mix of all traditional RIS aromas.. very dark roastiness.... no astringency really.. some good hoppiness that mixes well with some sweetness from the malts.

Flavor has more dark chocolate and less sweetness... tastes very fresh and is very rich.

The body is not as thick as many of the huge RIS out there.. and I'm happy about that.. This is damn near the perfect example of a RIS that doesn't need all the bells and whistles many brewing companies use.. no barrel aging.. not huge viscosity.. no fruit.. just an awesome RIS.

Thanks Jake... I wish I would have taken better notes... this would be one of my never ending keg dream beers.


Photo of jmalex
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Capone's on 6-12-08. This review is from notes taken.

APPEARANCE: Served in a 10 oz. snifter, the beer came pitch black with essentially no head to speak of save a small, wispy collar. Despite this, some slight, splotchy lacing formed down the sides of the glass.

SMELL: Equal parts roasty and fruity with a little alcohol bite and maybe a touch of smoke. There's definitely more than just a balancing hop presence, but it gets overpowered by the big, malty aromas.

TASTE: The taste goes back and forth between the heavy roast coffee and the ripe dark fruits. The alcohol hits you right off the bat and is pretty much the one major detractor in an otherwise delicious beer. The hops are even more prevalent in the taste and come on mostly toward the finish, before giving way to a lingering roastiness that seems to keep hanging on.

MOUTHFEEL: Thick and chewy, yet not syrupy. Carbonation is low and appropriate. In other words, spot on.

DRINKABILITY: Certainly delicious but it's a big beer with some of an alcohol bite. For style though, not too bad.

I'm glad I got a chance to try this given it's limited availability. Time will tell if the hype machine grabs hold or if it gets lost in a shuffle of so many good Imperial Stouts. I suggest trying it if you can.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at the Plan Bee Savage release. '10 vintage.

Pours a very dark black, looks a little thin, though. There's a small mocha colored head, and no real lacing.

Smells like dark fruits, leather, tobacco, caramel, and honey.

This is in an interesting stout, there's a lot more flavors than the typical roasted malt and chocolate, which are there, but in small amounts. I get the impression of honey-covered raisins here, with some vanilla, leather, figs, tobacco, etc. With the age, 4 years at this juncture, the bitter roastiness seems to have all but faded, which is ok. It's a bit sweet, but not cloying.

This is slightly thin bodied, with a oily but creamy mouthfeel, and a very low level of carbonation. Age seems to have diminished the mouthfeel here.

This is excellent, I'm glad to have finally tried this one. At this age, it's become more like an old ale or something like that, rather than a stout, but it tastes really great.

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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
94 out of 100 based on 337 ratings.